The CEO of MyPillow, Mike Lindell tried to retrofit his factories to make masks at the start of the pandemic. However, he now sits on two million masks that he would like to "just burn."
Lindell's tale begins in March of 2020, before most were starting to take the pandemic seriously. He planned a combination business/charity venture to make face masks for the pandemic.
More than a year later, with only five percent of the stock sold, Lindell wants nothing more to do with face masks.
Lindell was quoted by The Daily Beast as saying:
"I can't give them away. I tried to. No one wants the things anymore."
Lindell claims to have retrofitted 75 percent of his factories to produce cloth masks. Now the sewing machines are unused since he can't seem to sell the items.
The plan came about last March in a joint announcement with President Donald Trump. In total, he estimates the failed plan cost him $7 million.
Lindell blames the media, the mask industry and politically motivated boycotts for why he couldn't sell many masks. The eventual price competition from the foreign market settled the failure.
However it may be Lindell's friend and former President of the United States, Donald Trump's fault as well. Lindell has been tightly associated with the former president.
At the start of the pandemic, Trump and Lindell announced the move to push American manufacturing to make masks to help with the pandemic. But that quickly went out the window.
Trump's messaging on mask usage could be described as complicated at best. While efforts were made to try and get people to wear masks, Trump himself didn't push very hard. And right-wing outlets often criticized mask usage.
Since right-wing consumers wouldn't wear the masks, and left-wing consumers didn't want to support a friend of Trump, it left little market for Lindell to sell to.
You might say he did this to himself.
In his interview with The Daily Beast, Lindell tried to claim he couldn't even give the masks to other countries because they don't work. This goes against the science surrounding masks and the pandemic.
For now, Lindell is working on plans to sell the sewing machines he bought and transforming the factories back to producing his line of pillows.