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In late July, Mike Lindell, the MyPillow CEO who’s made a new name for himself as one of Donald Trump’s most diehard political supporters and 2020 election deadenders, irately announced he was yanking his company’s pillow ads from the Fox News airwaves.
The immediate source of tension between the MAGA pillow magnate and the pro-Trump cable-news giant—a relationship that for years has been financially fruitful for both, and led to Lindell’s seeming omnipresicence on the Fox universe—was the network’s refusal to run a TV ad mentioning Lindell’s then-upcoming “cyber symposium” featuring baseless 2020 election “fraud” conspiracy theories.
It was the latest salvo in a media mini-saga of bruised feelings, constant accusations of censorship and election-hacking, and political extremes, with the quarrel between Lindell and Fox serving as a microcosm of the ravingly anti-democratic state of U.S. conservatism in the long shadow of a Trump presidency.
By August, however, according to Lindell and Fox, the pillow mogul began trying to rekindle the advertising bond with Fox, following the speedy MyPillow withdrawal. But the overture towards a Fox-Lindell detente only went so far, with Fox rejecting his new ads multiple times, including as recently as this past Monday and Wednesday.
This reporting was first discussed on this week’s episode of The Daily Beast’s “Fever Dreams” podcast, listen and subscribe below:
The Trump era was crazy, but wait ’til you hear what the right has planned next. Subscribe to Fever Dreams on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Audible, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Amazon Music or Acast to keep up with the conspiracy-mongers, MAGA acolytes and straight-up grifters. Hosted by Asawin Suebsaeng and Will Sommer.
“MyPillow is done with them, MyPillow is done!” Lindell claimed in an interview early this week.
But he revealed that “about a week or two” after he declared he was pulling the MyPillow commercials, he and his ad buyers approached Fox again, this time with a new ad for FrankSpeech, Lindell’s attempt at a social media website.
Lindell said that though that second ad was for FrankSpeech, it also promoted MyPillow with “promo codes” and “exclusive specials at FrankSpeech dot com” for both “MyPillow products and MyStore products.”
That ad, however, was soon rejected by Fox because, according to Lindell, it also managed to reference the summit on election-fraud conspiracy theories. “They still didn’t like that the ‘cyber symposium’ was still mentioned,” Lindell said.
But the pillow magnate wasn’t done yet.
After that, Lindell said he and his associates produced a third FrankSpeech ad to run on the network, this time leaving out “everything about the machines and the symposium or the election.”
But then, Lindell continued, “They denied that one anyway! We got a message from them on Monday, Sept. 13, that they did not like the content of FrankSpeech dot com…They went from not liking the content of the ad to not liking the content of the website!”
A Fox News spokesperson on Wednesday evening confirmed to The Daily Beast that Lindell’s two, more recently submitted FrankSpeech ads were, in fact, rejected.
“I’m going to make another ad this week, and see if they deny that ad,” Lindell promised on Monday.
The next day, he tried a fourth time.
According to Lindell, following Monday’s rejection, he shot yet another new ad on Tuesday, in which he’s sitting at a desk, with a picture of Jesus Christ and a lion as part of his background. In this ad, he said, Lindell thanked viewers for their support and told them to “check out my new platform, FrankSpeech,” mentions the special deals on “towels,” and recommends viewers go to the MyPillow website.
Lindell said that he and his ad buyers sent the rough cut to Fox the same day it was filmed. By Wednesday, he says he got another hard-no.
“They said I couldn’t mention the words ‘Frank’ or ‘FrankSpeech,’” he said on Thursday afternoon. “It was the fastest reply we’ve gotten. But if I removed the words ‘FrankSpeech’ it might have cleared, but it would have just been a MyPillow ad, which I said I’m not doing! Outrageous! I told them to tell Fox, ‘Shame on you!’”
A Fox News spokesperson on Wednesday evening confirmed to The Daily Beast that Lindell’s two, more recently submitted FrankSpeech ads were, in fact, rejected, but denied Lindell’s characterization of the conversation.
Ever since the tumultuous, at-times violent fallout from the U.S. presidential contest last year, Fox, Lindell, and MyPillow have all been hit with massive lawsuits targeting them for baseless election allegations.
The Fox family has mostly looked to sidestep further legal jeopardy. But Lindell (who remains a friend and close ally of the twice-impeached former president who instigated the bloody Jan. 6 Capitol riot and continues to push the GOP to spread election lies) hasn’t given up the cause, and has routinely attacked Fox for months.
“Shame on Fox News! Shame on them,” Lindell said in late July. “When I was told they wouldn’t run the ad, I said to cut off advertising on Fox immediately and indefinitely…Things change, but right now I have no plans to ever advertise on Fox News again.”
Something did change, though not to the MyPillow founder’s liking.
While the network has not publicly commented on why it still declines to broadcast Lindell's ads, Fox has attempted to avoid any further connection to the pillow mogul’s false claims that the 2020 election was rigged—wild claims that have enraged two voting technology companies.
Lindell has remained not only one of the biggest drivers of those theories and a part-time adviser to Trump, but emerged during the 2020-2021 presidential transition as a major financial backer of efforts to subvert Joe Biden’s clear and decisive defeat of the incumbent Trump. Earlier this year, voting machine companies Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic each filed major defamation lawsuits against the conservative cable channel, noting it aired false election fraud reports in the immediate wake of the 2020 election (Fox News has filed several motions to dismiss both cases).
Lindell was previously one of Fox's biggest sponsors on the network (and, at some points, was the main advertiser during Tucker Carlson’s nightly primetime hour). According to the Wall Street Journal, MyPillow spent nearly $50 million on television ads with Fox last year. Since pulling his ads from the network, Lindell has continued to relentlessly advertise with the less-viewed Fox competitor: the hyper-Trumpy Newsmax.
“I think Fox News has done more damage to the country than all the left-wing media have put together, by not talking about the issues and by choosing to censor what they talk about!” Lindell stressed earlier this week.
“Fox is being a part of the cancel culture,” he added.