The Daily Beast
Twitter/@ZTPetrizzoThe launch of pro-Trump pillow magnate Mike Lindell’s much-ballyhooed “free speech” social media site is not going as planned, as the MyPillow CEO repeatedly dealt with prank callers during his Monday livestream kickoff for Frank Speech.And at one point, Lindell thought his hero Donald Trump had called in to wish him well, only for it to turn out to be a prankster, prompting the pillow salesman to—in a bit of unintentional comedy—fumble with his phone while complaining that “they are attacking us.”Lindell, who currently faces a $1.3-billion defamation lawsuit from voting software company Dominion for pushing election lies, was booted from Twitter and other social media platforms for violating policies on peddling disinformation. In response, Lindell announced he would launch his own website.The new platform, however, has gotten off to a rocky start. The Trump-boosting pillow salesman had to change the original name of it after receiving a legal threat. And while the site is supposed to be about “free speech,” users cannot use profanity or God’s name in vain. And despite the site essentially being founded on the ability to freely lie about the election or other hot-button issues, Lindell has declared that “out-and-out” lies are forbidden.While the launch date of Frank Speech was scheduled for April 19 at 9 a.m. ET, the platform was not live as of Monday morning. During a livestream promoting the site that also featured former Trump officials Michael Flynn and Steve Bannon—both purveyors of the “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was “rigged”—Lindell said that registration for “Frank” was put on pause because they “were under the biggest attack in history for a website.”Mike Lindell was just duped into thinking Trump was calling into the program. pic.twitter.com/VUMy1etNA3— Zachary Petrizzo (@ZTPetrizzo) April 19, 2021 Eventually, Lindell began taking live calls on his cell phone, and it appears that some crank callers got through the screening process.With his phone on speaker, the MyPillow guy took one call that he thought was from a Wall Street Journal reporter, only for the caller to begin telling a clearly fabricated story about a colleague dying of a drug overdose, causing Lindell to abruptly hang up.“This is a prank call. This is a prank call.” Lindell shouted. “Do you see what they’re doing, everybody? Do you see what they’re doing, everybody? That was an attack there.”And then, a short while later, the screener broke into the broadcast to tell Lindell—who bankrolled many of the pro-Trump legal efforts to overturn the election—that they had “breaking news” that Trump was on the line and ready to be patched in.“Hello everyone,” a recording of Trump played, prompting an excited Lindell to bellow that they had the “real president” on the air.“Hello, Mr. President,” a beaming Lindell continued, only for the prankster to immediately reveal himself with a string of expletives.Hurriedly cutting off the call, a flustered Lindell claimed this was proof he was under attack while also declaring it proof that an ominous “they” are “hacking into our phones.”Like many of his other recent claims, Lindell offered no proof behind that assertion.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.