Should MyPillow products be dropped over CEO support of voter fraud claims?
- MyPillow is a poly-foam pillow company that was invented by Mike Lindell in 2004. The company boasts 15 stores, 1,600 employees, and has sold over 40 million pillows.
- In March 2019, at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Lindell announced he would use his MyPillow resources to make face masks citing his passion has “always been to help others.”
- Lindell, a passionate Trump supporter, said his products were dropped by major corporations like Bed Bath & Beyond, Kohl’s, and Wayfair after broadcasting “false claims of voter fraud” during the 2020 election.
- Bed Bath & Beyond and Kohl’s quoted their reasoning as “flagging sales” instead of Lindell’s accusation.
- On Thursday, January 14, Lindell posted on Facebook to “keep the faith” and “We will have our president Donald Trump 4 more years!”
- President-elect Biden was confirmed by Congress as the official winner of the 2020 presidential election on January 7 after the riot on Capitol Hill. Biden accumulated 306 votes compared to Trump’s 232.
Modern consumers want to identify with the brands they purchase and feel that their values are reflected by the companies with which they do business. With the overwhelming majority of Americans disapproving of the unrest and violence that has threatened to disrupt the peaceful transfer of presidential power, major retailers such as Bed Bath and Beyond, Kohls, and Wayfair are right to drop MyPillow products over CEO Mike Lindell’s behavior. Not only might these products become unfavorable with consumers disgusted with the CEO’s actions, but retailers who stock them could be seen as complicit or even supportive of Lindell’s extremist viewpoints. It’s more than a matter of wasted shelf space: it’s a matter of reputation. These retailers are saying to their customers that they support the fundamentals of democracy and will not offer products produced by those that try to undermine it. This helps to protect their reputations and is simply good business.
These retailers are right to remove MyPillow products from their stocks because Mike Lindell needs to feel the repercussions for his actions. Lindell has repeatedly trafficked in false information and conspiracy theories promoted incorrectly by the president. He even went so far as to reportedly suggest “martial law if necessary” in a recent meeting with President Trump. These extreme and factually inaccurate views are dangerous to the nation, and retailers are right to punish him for promoting them. Overturning a free and fair democratic election, instituting martial law, and promoting violence all have dire consequences for our nation, and retailers are right to punish those who advocate for such actions.
When retailers like Bed Bath and Beyond and Kohl's removed all MyPillow products from their stores, it seems as if Mike Lindell is in the first steps of being essentially blacklisted from his industry due to his controversial political views. Although his ardent support of Donald Trump has generated criticism, it should not cause his business's downfall.
While one can argue that Lindell's substantial following on social media can influence people to avoid the brand, there is no direct endorsement of Trump, or his own name for that matter, on any of the MyPillow products in those stores. We live in a world where consumers are more connected and informed than ever, which should grant them the financial freedom to buy from whatever company they please. By removing companies with controversial stances from their stores, consumers may become offended that these retailers are making their decisions for them.
When large retailers penalize companies and CEOs for going public with their political stances, these companies will shy away from being transparent about their beliefs in the future. We've already seen major corporations in recent months virtue signal for various causes. Diversity in freedom of thought and political opinion should, therefore, apply both ways—for large and small companies alike. This can lead to even more misunderstanding when consumers are caught by surprise by their preferred companies' political views. While Lindell has continuously supported Trump's confident claims of voter fraud, this is certainly not the first controversy the CEO has found himself apart of in recent memory. United States citizens take pride in the freedom they have to make choices with their finances; political views should not interfere with that.