A Conservative Star Is Born Through Cable News Commercials

Jeremy Barr
MyPillow C.E.O. Mike Lindell is surrounded by fans at the Conservative Political Action Conference

Mike Lindell, the C.E.O. of prolific Fox News advertiser MyPillow, was a hot commodity at CPAC.

Everywhere Mike Lindell went, people asked, "Is that the MyPillow guy?"

At a star-studded event that features political wunderkinds, conservative television superstars and members of the Trump administration, one of the biggest hits at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference has been a man who runs a 15-year-old, direct-to-consumer pillow company.

Lindell is synonymous with the company he founded, and seemingly everybody at CPAC seemed to know both. Perhaps that's because MyPillow's ads are ubiquitous on the most important television channel in the conservative movement, Fox News.

On Thursday, the mustachioed Lindell walked briskly through the halls of Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, accompanied by a small entourage of people. After a scrum formed around Lindell in the afternoon, a security guard shouted, "Let him go! Let him go!"

On a quieter Friday, he spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about his crowds. "It's everywhere I go," he said. "I've been on TV so much, and I think people like the message I give out, that MyPillow is just a platform for God, and it helps so many people. I enjoy it. I don't run from it. I like talking to people."

Lindell, a former crack addict who frequently tells his story of redemption, has increased his conservative profile even further by spending $1 million to finance an anti-abortion movie that screened at CPAC.

He said people come up to him mostly for two reasons: to talk about his "transformation to Jesus" and his unbreakable support for the man he has donated heavily to, President Donald Trump.

MyPillow's ads fit nicely into Fox News' primetime lineup, which is dominated by Trump-supporting hosts like Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson. Lindell's company is consistently one of The Ingraham Angle's top sponsors and was No. 1 for Tucker Carlson Tonight for a good chunk of 2018, according to Kantar Media data.

"I'm on all the channels," Lindell said. "I'm on every channel. Not just Fox. I'm even on the channels that attack me all the time."

But, there's no denying it: MyPillow is increasingly important to the success of Fox News. As major brands have fled the network's primetime opinion hosts, Lindell, who despises ad boycotts, has stayed put or doubled down.

While he looked flustered by the attention at times on Thursday, Lindell said he's "absolutely not" bothered by it. "I welcome that," he said. "I got a story to tell."