The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

After MyPillow CEO starts spouting election misinformation on Newsmax, anchor walks off show

Mike Lindell’s rant made his interviewer visibly uncomfortable, possibly because the channel has been threatened with a lawsuit for airing baseless election-fraud claims

MyPillow founder Mike Lindell at the White House in March. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
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Things went sideways just 10 seconds into Newsmax TV’s interview Tuesday afternoon with Mike “MyPillow Guy” Lindell, the pillow-company executive who rose to fame in conservative circles because of his effusive praise of former president Donald Trump.

Appearing on the conservative cable news channel, Lindell was asked to discuss Twitter’s decision to ban him for repeatedly spreading misinformation about the 2020 presidential election, which he has insisted for weeks was stolen from Trump.

The MyPillow chief executive immediately launched into an attack on Dominion Voting Systems, an election technology company that has become the subject of baseless accusations related to the election. He said his Twitter feed “was taken down because we have all the election fraud with these Dominion machines. We have 100 percent proof.”

Co-anchor Bob Sellers tried to cut Lindell off. “Mike, Mike, Mike. ... We at Newsmax have not been able to verify any of those kinds of allegations,” he said. “We just want to let people know that there’s nothing substantive that we have seen. And let me read you something.”

Lindell just kept talking, his words muted and mostly indecipherable, while Sellers looked down and began to read from what sounded like a legal disclaimer: “Newsmax accepts the [election] results as legal and final. The courts have also supported that view.”

What was left unsaid was that Newsmax has recently faced legal threats from Dominion and Smartmatic, another voting technology company that has threatened to sue right-wing news outlets and personalities for spreading what the companies claim is defamatory misinformation about their role in the election.

In late December, a law firm representing Dominion sent a letter to Newsmax promising imminent litigation over “false statements you have recently published regarding Dominion.” No such lawsuit has been filed, but the possibility of a libel case clearly has the networks worried. Newsmax and Fox News have issued extraordinary on-air “clarifications” since the election, essentially disavowing the claims of fraud they had repeatedly aired.

On Tuesday, Sellers tried to get a steaming Lindell back on cue: “We wanted to talk to you about canceling culture, if you will. We don’t want to re-litigate the allegations that you’re making, Mike.”

But Lindell wouldn’t stop talking about fraud. The Newsmax anchor finally asked his producers to end the segment. “Can we get out of here, please?” he asked.

Then the anchor simply got up and walked off the set. His co-anchor, former Fox News anchor Heather Childers, was tasked with taking over the segment and trying to calm Lindell down.

A spokesperson for Lindell and MyPillow did not immediately respond to a request for comment. “Newsmax and its anchor only wanted to make clear that it has found no evidence of software manipulation involving the election,” network spokesman Brian Peterson said in a statement to The Washington Post. “However, Mr. Lindell is entitled to his own opinion and has a different viewpoint than ours.”

Something similar happened in late December, when Lindell was cut off during a Newsmax segment after saying that “the biggest fraud is the Dominion machines.”

While Newsmax has been able to win over some conservative viewers, Tuesday’s clash could tamp down enthusiasm for the network among Trump’s strongest supporters.

“Newsmax is a joke!” one wrote on Twitter.

“VERY disappointing,” said another.