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How Mike Lindell’s MyPillow empire unraveled

In an interview with NBC News, released on Thursday, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell said he had “lost everything, every dime” because of his vocal support for the discredited conspiracy theory that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump by fraud.

Joe Biden defeated Trump in the 2020 contest, but the former president is still refusing to concede. He repeatedly said the election was rigged against him, despite these claims being repeatedly dismissed in the courts and by independent polling experts.

Lindell has enthusiastically backed Trump’s claims, telling the conservative Right Side Broadcasting Network in May that he had spent $40 million trying to overturn the result. After the election, the MyPillow logo was included on TrumpMarch.com, a website promoting the January 6 rally in 2021 that led to the storming of Congress by hundreds of Trump supporters. On August 16 and 17 2023, Lindell hosted what he called the Election Crime Bureau Summit in Springfield, Missouri, which he said was called to “plan to secure our elections immediately,” though the attendance was mocked online.

These accusations of electoral fraud have had a dramatic impact on MyPillow, Lindell’s Minnesota-based company that he founded in 2009. Speaking to Minnesota newspaper Star Tribune, Lindell said MyPillow was hit with “massive, massive cancellation” in response to his election-fraud claims. This saw the company’s products dropped by a number of major retailers, including Bed Bath & Beyond and Kohl’s. Lindell said: “We lost $100 million from attacks by the box stores, the shopping networks, the shopping channels, all of them did cancel culture on us.”

In response, Lindell said MyPillow shifted its focus to direct sales via television and email marketing, but its financial troubles would continue. In July, MyPillow attempted to sell over 800 items on online auction site K-BID, though a number failed to find a buyer, while some pieces of industrial equipment were sold at what appeared to be significantly below market prices.

In September, Lindell said American Express had cut MyPillow’s credit line “from a million dollars down to $100,000” during an appearance on Steve Bannon‘s “War Room” podcast. He add that this was part of an all-out attack, which “just cripples MyPillow.”

An American Express spokesperson told Newsweek: “We can’t comment on specific customer accounts or applications, but I can tell you that American Express does not make customer decisions based on personal views or political affiliations.”

On September 30, Lindell told Bannon that MyPillow is facing five IRS audits over its employment practices, though he denied any wrongdoing.

Lindell said: “They’re going after my employees. During the China virus [COVID-19 pandemic], we had all these at-home moms and stuff, everybody out there taking calls at our call center under contract labor across the country. Now they’re doing employee audits. They’re trying to take away their jobs that you all call in your orders on… And it’s disgusting.”

Three defamation lawsuits have been brought against Lindell by voting-machine manufacturers Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic and Eric Coomer, a former Dominion employee. Both Dominion and Smartmatic produced electronic voting machines used in the 2020 election, which some Trump supporters have falsely linked to election fraud. Fox News settled a $1.6 billion lawsuit with Dominion in April, agreeing to pay $787.5 million, after some of its presenters and guests endorsed these conspiracy theories.

In a court motion filed on Thursday, legal firm Parker Daniels Kibort LLC [PDK], which had been representing Lindell in a number of cases, asked for permission to withdraw citing the non-payment of fees. This request was granted by U.S. District Judge Carl J. Nichols.

Lindell told Newsweek on Thursday: “We haven’t been able to pay them [lawyers] for the past couple of months.

“These lawyers were courageous,” Lindell said. “They took on a case where every other lawyer in this country are afraid to take on any case against the electronic voting machines and the evil that’s out there. This was a great group of attorneys… and they need to get paid; and if there’s no money to pay them, they can’t keep going.”

Newsweek has contacted MyPillow for comment by email.

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