from the making-himself-poorer-and-other-people-dumber dept
Hope Mike Lindell has socked away some of his MyPillow millions. Trump toadying is proving to be an expensive hobby, and it’s not as though the former president is doing anything to repay those whose support has been absurdly unwavering with anything like, you know, legal assistance. Or actual money.
Trump cohorts and legal reps are being sued by Dominion Voting Systems for the weeks of (alleged) defamation they engaged in following Trump’s loss at the polls. The MyPillow CEO is being sued by Dominion for the same thing, thanks to his sudden ascendance into the public sphere — a position he used to spread plenty of false (and easily disproved) “stolen election” theories.
Lindell responded to being sued by Dominion with a lawsuit of his own — one that claimed Dominion’s lawsuit was unconstitutionally silencing his company by naming it as a defendant. His lawsuit pointed out (correctly) that Lindell made all of the allegedly defamatory assertions before going on to claim his company was being censored by Dominion, preventing it from saying all the things Lindell just finished claiming it had never said, nor would ever say.
Another voting tech company is now suing Lindell for defamation, raising a lot of the same allegations Dominion’s lawsuit did. Smartmatic — which was dragged into the post-election shitstorm by Trump acolytes pushing conspiracy theories — says Lindell made tons of false claims about the company being involved in the “theft” of votes, as well as being compromised by Chinese hackers during the 2020 election. (h/t Mike Dunford)
The lawsuit [PDF] doesn’t waste any time letting the judge (and Lindell) know exactly what Smartmatic thinks of him and his assertions.
Crazy like a fox. Mike Lindell knows exactly what he is doing, and it is dangerous.
Mr. Lindell knows Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the 2020 election for President and Vice President of the United States. He knows the election was not rigged, fixed, or stolen. He knows voting machines did not switch votes from former President Trump to now President Biden.
These facts do not matter to Mr. Lindell because he knows he can sell. Mr. Lindell knows he can sell xenophobia. He knows he can sell conspiracy theory. He knows he can sell a preconceived story about voting machines stealing democracy by stealing votes from a president who is incredibly popular with millions of Americans. And, of course, Mr. Lindell—“the MyPillow Guy”—knows he needs to sell pillows to keep and increase his fortune.
That last point is repeated throughout the lawsuit: Lindell leveraged his position as the CEO of MyPillow to make public appearances. And he leveraged these public appearances to advertise for his company. The two are intertwined, even if, as Lindell claims, the company itself has never issued a public statement purporting to be the business’s official take on election fraud theories.
Here’s what’s bothering Smartmatic:
Mr. Lindell’s message was as dangerous as it was factually inaccurate. Mr. Lindell told people that Smartmatic stole the 2020 U.S. election. He told people that Smartmatic’s election technology, hardware, and software were hacked by China and other foreign countries. He told people that Smartmatic election technology, hardware, and software were developed for the sole purpose of stealing foreign elections by switching votes. And he told people that Smartmatic deployed its election technology, hardware, and software to do just that in the 2020 U.S. election. All lies.
Unlike Dominion’s multiple, multi-billion dollar lawsuits, Smartmatic’s lawsuit does not seek a set amount in damages. This suggests it has more than enough evidence on hand to show how Lindell’s false statements harmed it. And the narrative that the 136-page lawsuit details is one in which Lindell — despite being aware other entities like Fox News had retracted false claims about Smartmatic — continued to make the same, disproven assertions over and over again.
The lawsuit lays out — in great detail — the false claims made by Lindell on Fox News, as well as on other networks seeking to “outFox” the former leader in conspiratorial conservatives, like OAN and Newsmax. This went on for weeks, long after other conspiracy theorists had decided to abandon the “stolen” election narrative. The longer Lindell continued, the more evidence contradicting his claims he willingly ignored, as Smartmatic points out:
Mr. Lindell had obvious reasons to doubt what he was saying about Smartmatic outside of the 2020 U.S. election because it had been publicly debunked for months prior to his statements.
Mr. Lindell possessed and had access to a significant volume of information that contradicted the story he told about Smartmatic. Mr. Lindell reviewed this information (and therefore knew his statements and implications were false) and/or purposefully avoided reviewing this information because he did not want to know the truth.
A minimal amount of investigation would easily establish the falsity of Mr. Lindell’s statements about Smartmatic’s role in the U.S. election. Mr. Lindell has stated that he spent millions of dollars investigating Smartmatic. He would have needed to spend only a fraction of that amount to learn of Smartmatic’s limited, secure role as a voting technology and services provider in Los Angeles County.
Lindell’s persistence in the face of actual facts is likely to cost him more than just the legal fees he’ll spend defending himself against this lawsuit. Smartmatic’s lawsuit points out dozens of false statements made by Lindell that had already been disproven by the time he started making these assertions. That’s actual malice and it’s going to be very hard for Lindell to argue he was just engaging in heated political rhetoric that got a little out of hand. He has attached his personal brand — along with MyPillow’s — to bizarre conspiracy theories that originated from a small but vocal minority that simply cannot bring themselves to believe their president got voted out of office.