Two leading US retailers have countered claims from the head of a pillow company that they dropped the brand over his outspoken support for Donald Trump, saying that the decisions were driven not by politics but by poor demand for the products.
In a series of interviews, Mike Lindell, who runs Minnesota-based MyPillow, accused some of the country’s biggest chains, including Bed Bath & Beyond and Kohl’s, of caving to pressure from left-leaning activists over his backing for the outgoing US president.
“They’re scared,” he told the rightwing Right Side Broadcasting Network.
However, two of the retailers named by Mr Lindell said on Tuesday that they were removing the privately owned company’s products because of weak sales.
“There has been decreased customer demand for MyPillow,” department store chain Kohl’s said. Bed Bath & Beyond said: “We have been rationalising our assortment to discontinue a number of underperforming items and brands. This includes the MyPillow product line.”
The dispute, on Mr Trump’s final full day in office, illustrates the difficulties facing corporate America over how to deal with the country’s increasingly divisive politics.
Mr Lindell has for months been among the most vocal of any business chief in his backing for Mr Trump, and repeated the president’s unsubstantiated accusations of widespread voter fraud in the November election. In contrast to other Trump sympathisers who distanced themselves after the attack on the US Capitol this month, the entrepreneur has continued to support the president’s calls to overturn the poll’s results.
Since the Capitol assault, executives across corporate America have been eager to avoid supporting a president accused of undermining the rule of law. Yet they also risk a backlash from the right.
Sebastian Gorka, a former aide to Mr Trump, wrote on Twitter on Tuesday: “If you’re a Patriot, how about you never buy anything from Kohl’s or Bed Bath & Beyond until they stock Mike Lindell’s MyPillow products again.”
Mr Lindell said the online furniture retailer Wayfair and Texas grocery chain H-E-B were also dropping MyPillow. Neither company responded to a request for comment.