Far-right MyPillow hobgoblin, 2020 election hoaxer, and wannabe coup leader Mike Lindell’s shipment of 12,000 pillows to the anti-vax “Freedom Convoy” blocking U.S.-Canada border crossings and clogging the streets of Ottawa seems to have been denied entry at the border. To save face, or possibly just sell more pillows, he’s rambling about how the payload will be delivered via helicopter bombardment instead.
Lindell announced on Sunday his intent to dispatch thousands of pillows to the “brave truckers” in the convoy, saying the entire company was now dedicated to fabricating them. According to Insider, however, as of Wednesday night, Lindell said that company trucks carrying 12,000 pillows had yet to clear the Canadian border as they had not secured a “final permit.” The Right Side Broadcasting Network posted a video to Rumble, a dumping ground for various bits of right-wing propaganda, showing a large MyPillow truck that appeared to be stuck at a border crossing from Minnesota to Canada. The National Post reported that a Canadian government source said that border officials had separately stopped Lindell and a videographer from entering Canada at the Port Huron-Sarnia border crossing, as well as a MyPillow truck at the Ambassador Bridge heading to Windsor.
Lindell, the source told the National Post, was stopped because he is unvaccinated. The truck was a self-defeating endeavour, as the guy driving it apparently couldn’t get through the border because he didn’t meet the vaccination requirements that the convoy is protesting. The Freedom Convoy’s original goal, at least before it broadened to include every form of right-wing outrage porn under the sun, was to defeat a mandate that all commercial truckers entering Canada from the U.S. either show proof of vaccination or agree to quarantine. Those requirements are still in effect, and on Monday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked Emergency Act powers that among other things gave the government increased powers to restrict public assembly, travel, and material and financial support for the convoy. In lieu of any kind of evidence the pillows are reaching their destination, Lindell has cooked up some spiel about helicopters.
According to the Daily Beast, Lindell claimed in an interview on Wednesday night that the 12,000 pillows will be dropped from aircraft with “little parachutes” (adding “make sure you put that part in, or it could be dangerous”). He continued, “I can not give the location out, and it is no joke! I just confirmed with them [the helicopter company], and yes, this is the plan. We have the helicopter confirmed, but we are moving the time up to 11 am.”
Lindell did not bother to explain how coordinating an aerial assault on Canada would somehow pass muster with Canadian authorities where a truck had not. Federal aviation authorities in the U.S., for example, warn that most foreign aircraft entering the country must pass through what is known as air defence identification zones (ADIZ) and that unauthorised aircraft without a flight plan are particularly subject to the risk of interception by the military. No such ADIZ exists between the U.S. and Canada, however, which seems to dash any hopes of a chopper-on-chopper dogfight. Attempts by Insider and the Daily Beast to reach the Canada Border Services Agency for comment were unsuccessful. Gizmodo reached out to Canada’s Department of National Defence, mostly out of morbid curiosity, and also didn’t hear back.
This is, however, all beside the point, as there is and has never been any indication Operation: Dumbass Drop exists. On Thursday, Lindell posted an article to his Telegram channel claiming it was a clever troll: “Despite knowing that their reporting would be the standard far-left dribble, [Lindell] decided to give [the Daily Beast] a comment. It was so over-the-top outrageous that it was clearly satire, but they printed it anyway.”
It’s not totally clear whether Lindell is capable of understanding the first key element of his mutually parasitic relationship with the media, in which he is the butt of the joke in every article written about him. But he clearly understands step two, hocking pillows to MAGA rubes. Much of the rest of his channel is discount codes promising 60%+ savings on MyPillow products.
A Gizmodo analysis of data leaked from the Christian fundraising site GiveSendGo showed that while most of over $US8.3 ($12) million in contributions to the convoy via the site originated from donors with Canadian zip codes, the absolute majority (nearly 52,000) of donors had U.S. zip codes. The “Freedom Convoy” is thus heavily reliant on foreign support of the kind that Trudeau’s Emergency Act invocation targets. However, it remains unclear how the hell pillows would support the convoy in the first place. Maybe people can scream into them.
Canadian authorities have ordered members of the convoy to disperse, and the New York Times reported that as of Wednesday the number of participants appeared to be falling. MyPillow didn’t return Gizmodo’s request for comment, though we suppose we’ll update if we hear back.