I asked MyPillow whether it sells customer data to political committees. Mike Lindell called back — and things got interesting.
- MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell had an animated 32-minute phone conversation with an Insider reporter.
- Lindell was aghast to learn his company website stated MyPillow “sold” certain customer information.
- MyPillow doesn’t rent or sell customers’ information to politicians or data brokers, Lindell said.
- Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.
There’s an odd section, written in high legalese, buried deep within MyPillow’s corporate website. It’s titled, “Sales of Personal Information.”
At best, it contradicts itself.
“We do not sell your personal information to unrelated third parties,” it begins. It then states: “However, My Pillow, Inc. and Mike Lindell Products, LLC d/b/a MyStore share customer information which may technically constitute a ‘sale’ …”
It further details different kinds of personal customer information MyPillow had “sold” during the past 12 months, including “indentifiers,” which the company defines as names, postal addresses, Internet Protocol addresses, email addresses, Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, passport numbers, and “other similar identifiers.”
A pair of Republican sources flagged this to me while I was researching a potential story on how political committees buy, sell, and rent Americans’ personal information.
The political trade in such data is lucrative. You may be shocked to learn how much information about you is for sale — and where that data comes from. Entire companies’ business models hinge on collecting, packaging, and marketing data on people likely to support a certain kind of politician, financially and otherwise. Democrats and Republicans alike partake.
Seeking clarity, I emailed MyPillow on Wednesday afternoon with questions. First up: Does MyPillow “in any way rent, sell, or share customer information with data brokers or other third parties that, in turn, have the ability to rent or sell that information?”
Two hours later, a number with a Minneapolis area code popped up on my phone.
I answered. It was Mike Lindell, MyPillow’s moustached CEO — one of former President Donald Trump’s most loyal supporters and the recent target of a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit from voting machine manufacturer Dominion Voting Systems, which accuses him of “knowingly” spreading baseless claims that the company’s voting machines helped rig the 2020 presidential election.
From the first moment of our 32-minute conversation, Lindell made one thing abundantly clear: he wasn’t at that moment a happy pillow executive.
“I want to know where you got your information, because I will take — my lawyers will be on them. This is defamation to MyPillow if you put that out,” Lindell said. “So you better tell me your sources, because this is a serious thing.”
Amid accusing me of lying, peddling false information, and attempting to “crush” his company, while also four times threatening legal action against either me or my sources — that was just in the call’s first five minutes — Lindell said MyPillow never, ever, ever rents or sells customers’ personal information.
“I want to get this perfectly clear, because this is serious: I do not sell my emails. At MyPillow, you will never find an email blast going out on anything political to my people at MyPillow. Ever. Their email will never be sold,” Lindell said. “We are the most secure company, too. We have layers of protection so nobody can hack in and steal their information and either emails.”
He added: “I’d rather get sued 10 times by Dominion than have you write something that hurts my integrity.”
By now, Lindell had conferenced in “Todd,” who he identified as MyPillow’s “IT guy” and chief information officer.
I read the two men the “Sales of Personal Information” section of MyPillow’s website. That’s the part that states MyPillow technically does sell information about its customers.
“In practice, what does that mean?” I asked.
Lindell paused a beat, then started shouting.
“What the hell is that, and why is it on our website? Explain that, Todd,” Lindell said. “I want this off of our website!”
Todd said he didn’t write the passage but that former MyPillow lawyer Joe Springer gave it to him to post.
‘Our stupid lawyer had us put this on there’
Todd and Lindell went back and forth about the language. They settled on a theory that the “sales of personal information” actually refers to MyPillow giving credit card companies customer data to process routine transactions.
“So our stupid lawyer had us put this on there because we’re giving it to a third party to process the credit cards,” Lindell said.
But Lindell wasn’t yet satisfied.
“Well, I sure don’t like the way it reads on there. And I want you to check with our lawyer to see if we can get that the heck off there. That’s horrific,” Lindell told Todd.
To me, Lindell added: “I actually thank you for bringing this up. If I read that, that sounds like — terrible.”
Lindell then decided to just call Springer, the “stupid lawyer.”
Springer answered. He offered Lindell a cheery “hello!” and asked how he was doing.
Really good, Lindell said — up until the moment Insider called him.
Lindell immediately launched into the “sales of personal information” website situation.
“It reads like garbage,” he told Springer. “If you’re giving it to a third party for credit cards, I mean, that’s not how I would read it.”
Springer interrupted Lindell.
“Mike, having this conversation with someone else on the phone is not a good idea,” he said.
“Well, you know what, Joe? They’re going to print mud on me right now. So I really don’t care if it’s a good idea. I want to tell this guy … he wants an explanation,” Lindell replied. “I don’t care. Tell him the truth. I just want you to tell him the truth. So, I don’t need to have him hang up the phone, and then he thinks we collaborated something, Joe …”
Springer cut in again.
“Mike. Mike. Mike. Hey. Take a deep breath,” Springer said, before indulging Lindell.
Yes, MyPillow shares customer information with credit card companies, Springer said, and it also shares email or website hosting companies that provide business services to MyPillow.
No, it doesn’t sell customer data to other companies, he added.
“The fact of the matter is we don’t sell other people’s private information. We don’t do it. So he can print that,” Springer continued.
“They only care about making Mike Lindell mud and erasing him from the planet,” Lindell interjected.
Insider has found no evidence this week — from political contacts, data broker sales cards, or any other external source — that MyPillow customer information is for sale. The only inkling that such a thing could be happening came from the MyPillow website itself.
It’s common for corporations to publish a page on their websites describing how they use customer information they collect, although such pages are rarely displayed prominently.
My questions about MyPillow’s data-selling policies sufficiently answered for the moment, I asked Lindell if he planned to attend CPAC, the annual conservative political conference being conducted this weekend in Orlando, Florida.
Trump is slated to address attendees Sunday in his first such speech since exiting the White House on January 20.
“I don’t know if I’m going to have time because every waking hour I’m working to get this election machine fraud to fruition,” Lindell said. “All the proof out there — we have more and more and more daily, and it’s all going to come out against Dominion / Smartmatic and this election fraud that, for the machines, so that we, our country, can never have machines again.”
What would Lindell like Trump to say at CPAC?
“I would hope that he says that there was machine election fraud,” Lindell said.
And with that, my conversation with Lindell ended largely where it began.
“You’re never going to have a fair election in history until these machines are gone. Why can’t you journalists get this through your head? What are you trying to put for your narrative? Do your hit job on me, and I will sue you,” he said, then hung up.
Within hours of the phone call, MyPillow’s privacy page — listed as having last been updated on November 11, 2017 — got an update.
Most notable among the changes: “MyPillow and MyStore will not sell your personal information and will only use or provide such information in the course of our business operations,” now reads the policy’s first line, in boldface type.
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