Dominion Voting Systems sued MyPillow and its CEO, Mike Lindell, seeking $1.3 billion in damages.
The defamation lawsuit claims Lindell boosted sales for his business while pushing false claims.
Lindell told Insider he actually expected boycotts to cost him tens of millions of dollars in sales.
MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell says he expects to lose $65 million in pillow revenue this year because of retailer boycotts over his claims that the 2020 US election was rigged.
That projection, Lindell told Insider in an interview Monday after being served with a defamation lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems seeking $1.3 billion in damages, is evidence he isn't pushing election-fraud claims for the money.
"I lost 20 retailers, and it's cost me $65 million this year that I won't get back, OK?" Lindell told Insider. "There's your story. Print it right. Don't try and twist this."
The 121-page lawsuit alleges the pillow mogul used conspiracy theories about the election to turbocharge sales for his company, using conspiratorial phrases as discount codes and placing expensive advertisements with like-minded media outlets.
"Lindell - a talented salesman and former professional card counter - sells the lie to this day because the lie sells pillows," Tom Clare, the defamation attorney representing Dominion Voting Systems, wrote in the lawsuit.
Dominion says Lindell used election conspiracy theories as a way to sell more pillows
Lindell has been an ardent supporter of former President Donald Trump for years. A former professional gambler who overcame an addiction to crack, he credits his company's success to his aggressive advertising strategy, which pushed MyPillow's revenue to over $300 million in 2019.
Dominion's lawsuit says that advertising strategy involves intertwining his personal brand and that of his company to juice sales.
MyPillow has spent tens of millions of dollars advertising on pro-Trump media outlets such as Fox News and Newsmax - both also targets of litigation over election falsehoods. After Trump lost the November election, Lindell falsely claimed Dominion rigged the election. MyPillow sponsored a "March for Trump" tour (which was actually a bus) in which Lindell spoke at rallies claiming the election was stolen.
Dominion alleges in the lawsuit that the conspiracy theories are a platform for Lindell to sell more pillows.
"After hitting the jackpot with Donald Trump's endorsement for MyPillow and after a million-dollar bet on Fox News ads had paid out handsome returns, Michael Lindell exploited another chance to boost sales: marketing MyPillow to people who would tune in and attend rallies to hear Lindell tell the 'Big Lie' that Dominion had stolen the 2020 election," Clare wrote.
Lindell told Insider that MyPillow's advertising strategy was distinct from his personal politics. He said MyPillow had advertising and sponsorship deals with the likes of CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, and The New York Times - all outlets he isn't a fan of - as well as about 5,000 podcasts and radio and TV stations.
"I advertise everywhere," he said. "And every spot either breaks even or makes money."
A representative for The Times told Insider it last ran MyPillow advertisements in 2015. The other media outlets Lindell named didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.
Lindell dismissed the notion that he had a "preconceived plan" to make money by claiming Dominion and Smartmatic, a rival election-technology company also implicated in conspiracy theories, rigged the presidential election. He said a retailer boycott from brands including Kohl's and Bed Bath & Beyond would cost him tens of millions of dollars in revenue.
"Those stores combined did $65 million in business last year," he said. "And now I won't have them this year, or any year. They're done."
Lindell says he's just trying to save America
Following the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol, where a pro-Trump mob sought to stop Congress from certifying the election results, Lindell only doubled down on election-fraud claims.
He met with Trump in the Oval Office, taking notes with him apparently suggesting the president consider declaring martial law. He continued to push the theories in media appearances and funded a two-hour "docu-movie" based on them called "Absolute Proof." He, like Trump before him, was eventually barred from Twitter.
He says he openly welcomes the lawsuit from Dominion, saying it would offer him an avenue to prove his claims of a rigged election.
"I am happy that I got served the papers today," Lindell said.
To bolster its claims that Lindell tied election-related conspiracy theories to MyPillow sales, Dominion's lawsuit includes a dozen pages of social-media users saying they're purchasing MyPillow products to support Lindell's election falsehoods.
"Mike Lindell is a true Patriot and an American hero for standing up for the truth. I'm buying more pillows using discount code NEWSMAX #ElectonFraudHappened #MikeLindell #MyPillowGuy #MyPillow," one person wrote on Twitter. "The mypillow guy is being attacked by evil leftists. Go to mypillow.com and spend heavily," another wrote.
Dominion's lawsuit also claims Lindell used discount codes on his website that tied into right-wing conspiracy theories, including using "FightforTrump" as a discount code while Trump supporters literally fought officers at the Capitol and "Proof" after broadcasting his "docu-movie."
But Lindell said advertising partners made those discount codes. "FightforTrump," for example, was from a podcaster MyPillow worked with - one of the hundreds of radio hosts with which MyPillow has sponsorship deals.
He said that controversies over advertising typically increased sales for his company but that boycotts since January seemed poised to cause long-term damage to pillow sales.
"When I'm boycotted, people tend to buy more pillows - at least in the short term," Lindell told Insider. "I always get a little lift for a couple of days when they attack the company. But now this time is different."
Lindell is nevertheless prepared to move forward with his claims, he said, so he could "save the country" from what he sees as the pernicious influence of communism. He said he didn't believe the people demanding that retailers boycott MyPillow were real, claiming they're bots.
"I'm not a stupid person. I have a huge company that I built from scratch. I'm an ex-addict, and I'm not going to back down from some big billion-dollar company that's trying to steal our country," he said.
"All I want is this election now. I don't care how much money it costs me," he added.
Lindell's claims about the election are unsubstantiated
Most recently, Lindell returned to the spotlight after releasing the self-made documentary "Absolute Proof," which purports that voter interference caused some states to "flip" from then-President Donald Trump to Joe Biden.
One data table in the film, for example, says nearly 200,000 votes from Wisconsin were improperly marked as absentee ballots and should therefore have been counted differently - even though multiple state and federal judges, including one appointed by Trump, approved the counting of those votes.
The film also claims that multiple countries, including China, Iran, and the UK, were complicit in generating election inconsistencies.
It's not clear where the data shown in "Absolute Proof" is from. Lindell claims it came from "spyware the government has" and was rendered by a "mega computer" into charts and graphs. Federal agencies have said the 2020 election was "the most secure in history," and judges have thrown out dozens of lawsuits challenging election results, finding no evidence of irregularities.
According to Lindell, "Absolute Proof" has been viewed more than 110 million times, though he declined to offer evidence for those viewership numbers. This year's Super Bowl had about 96 million viewers.
Lindell told Insider he was not concerned with Dominion's lawsuit against him, saying he had "bigger fish to fry" and "much bigger things" he was working on. He said he had a "massive team" of lawyers working on the case and already had all the evidence needed to prove his case.
"This is going to go to the Supreme Court. And when it does, it'll be a 9-0 vote that our country was attacked," Lindell said. "And then all the media outlets will finally come and go, wow: 'Mike, you know what? You were right all along.'"
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