The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Twitter bans MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell

The fierce Trump ally doubles down on baseless claims of election fraud despite the costs to his business

MyPillow chief executive Mike Lindell is the latest backer of Donald Trump to lose his Twitter privileges, joining Roger Stone, Stephen K. Bannon and the former president. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
Placeholder while article actions load

Twitter has banned MyPillow chief executive Mike Lindell for amplifying misinformation, the latest blow to the ally of former president Donald Trump.

Lindell was “permanently suspended” for repeatedly violating the company’s civic integrity policy, a Twitter spokeswoman told The Washington Post on Tuesday in an email. It was not immediately clear which tweets spurred the action, but the policy — implemented after a Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob — bars postings that mislead people about civic processes, including false claims about election outcomes.

Lindell’s continued allegations of widespread general-election fraud, for which there is no evidence, recently led to the threat of a costly lawsuit and the resignation of a board member from his Minnesota-based bedding company. Several prominent retailers have dropped the MyPillow brand, although some cited low demand.

But Lindell has charged ahead, making him one of the most prominent Trump allies who has refused to back down from election fraud claims, even in the weeks since rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol seeking to stop Congress from certifying President Biden’s victory in the Nov. 3 election. The attack left four rioters and a police officer dead, and dozens of police officers were injured.

These are the platforms that have banned Trump and his allies

In interviews Monday with The Post, Lindell doubled down on his claims, saying his focus now is bringing to light evidence of “all the new machine fraud” that he says has emerged in the past few weeks. His target has primarily been Dominion Voting Systems, a manufacturer of voting machines.

“It’s mostly Dominion where we have all our evidence,” he said. “I hope they do sue me, because we have all the evidence.”

Lawyers for Dominion have already taken legal action against other Trump allies, filing a $1.3 billion lawsuit on Monday against his lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, who has played a key role in pushing election-rigging allegations. The company also filed a lawsuit against pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell and sent a letter to Lindell last month accusing him of participating in a “vast and concerted misinformation campaign to slander Dominion.”

Asked about Lindell’s comments, Tom Clare, a lawyer representing Dominion, said in a statement that the firm is focused on the Powell and Giuliani lawsuits.

“There will be additional lawsuits, and we are continuing to take an evidence-based look at others who orchestrated and amplified the disinformation campaign,” Clare said.

MyPillow CEO says Bed Bath & Beyond, Kohl’s, Wayfair are dropping his products

The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency released a statement in November saying there was “no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.”

Since the Capitol riot, MyPillow’s business prospects have narrowed. Lindell named major retailers that he said have stopped carrying his products: Bed Bath & Beyond, Kohl’s, Wayfair, supermarket chain H-E-B and a Canadian home shopping channel. Bed Bath & Beyond and Kohl’s have previously said their decisions were driven by low customer demand, and the other companies did not respond to requests for comment.

Lindell said the boycotts have pushed customers to purchase MyPillow’s products from other retailers or directly from the company.

MyPillow did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But in an interview last week with the Right Side Broadcasting Network, a conservative YouTube channel, Lindell insisted that recent backlash would only benefit his business.

“Every time I got attacked, my business would go up, anywhere from 10 to 30 percent,” he said, although he did not specify what metric he was referring to. “Here’s my theory: Everybody on the right buys more, they buy more to support the cause. If you’re righteous, if it’s the right thing, they’re going to support you.”

Lindell’s high-profile political stances since the election have also caused at least one rift within the MyPillow corporate board. In an interview with The Post, Bob Roepke said he stepped down from the board of directors this month after a term of about three or four years. Lindell’s politics were a major factor in his decision, he said, although he also cited personal health concerns and a desire to focus more on his own business.

Lawmakers who objected to election results have been cut off from 20 of their 30 biggest corporate PAC donors

In his resignation letter, he told Lindell that their political views “don’t necessarily align at a national level” and that it was “in everybody’s best interest if I just would move on.” He had written the letter some time ago, he said, and decided to send it after sensing a “growing misalignment” between his views and Lindell’s.

Roepke said they parted on decent terms and that he admires much of the charitable work Lindell has done to help Minnesotans.

Lindell said he has known Roepke for most of his life and he thinks Roepke’s resignation came because of “cancel culture.”

The chief executive joins Trump allies Roger Stone and Stephen K. Bannon in being removed from Twitter in recent years. Trump was banned two days after the Capitol insurrection “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.” Since then, Twitter and other social media sites have taken aggressive steps against inflammatory rhetoric and election misinformation.

Last week, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), a backer of the QAnon conspiracy theory who also has repeated debunked claims of election fraud, was banned from Twitter for 12 hours for violating the civic integrity policy.

The political fortunes of those supporting Trump’s false election claims could get an early test in Minnesota, where Lindell has stoked speculation of a 2022 gubernatorial run. With deep pockets and name recognition, Lindell could be a strong contender, but on Monday and in earlier comments to Axios he indicated that his main focus right now is on the fraud claims.

“You can never use machines again, ever,” he said on Monday. “All that stuff could weigh in my decision.”