MyPillow founder and staunch Trump ally Mike Lindell plans to launch a social network of his own in the next few weeks, creating a haven for the kind of pro-Trump conspiracy theories that have been banned on more prominent social-media sites. On Lindell’s “Vocl” social media platform, users will be free to claim that a supercomputer stole the election from Donald Trump, or that vaccines are a tool of the devil.
Any new social media network faces serious challenges. But Vocl must grapple with a daunting problem before it even launches: a website called “Vocal,” spelled with an “A,” already exists.
On Thursday, lawyers for Vocal’s publicly traded parent company, Creatd, Inc., warned Lindell, in a letter reviewed by The Daily Beast, to change his social media network’s name and surrender ownership of the Vocl.com domain name. If Lindell refuses to change the name, he could face a lawsuit.
While Lindell has promised to turn Vocl into a “cross between Twitter and YouTube,” Vocal is a publishing platform similar to Medium where writers can post and monetize articles.
“It is clear that you are acting with bad faith and with intent to profit from Creatd’s mark,” the letter reads, claiming Lindell’s Vocl would “tarnish” the Vocal brand.
“It’s not like anything you’ve ever seen,” Lindell previously told Insider, describing his similarly named social network. “It’s all about being able to be vocal again and not to be walking on eggshells.”
Creatd owns the trademark for using “Vocal” in a number of ways related to social networking, including creating “virtual communities” and “online networking services.” Along with surrendering ownership of the Vocl.com domain name, Creatd wants Lindell to destroy any products with Vocl branding and never use the name again.
“Creatd is prepared to take all steps necessary to protect Creatd’s valuable intellectual property rights, without further notice to you,” the letter reads.
When asked on Friday morning about the new legal warning, the embattled MyPillow CEO and Trump friend replied, “It has nothing to do with their trademark. I haven't even launched yet. But it has nothing to do with us.”
Lindell claims Vocl is also an acronym.
“Ours stands for the ‘Victory of Christ's Love,’” Lindell added.
Early Friday afternoon, he called back to say, “We looked into it, and we believe it would be confusing, so we are going to announce a different name and URL by Monday.”
Lindell is already facing one major lawsuit. In February, voting-tech company Voting Systems sued Lindell and MyPillow over his baseless allegations that Dominion was involved in a scandalous election theft. Concurrently, Lindell, with the help of Trump attorney and Gawker-slayer Charles Harder, has also recently sued the Daily Mail tabloid, over the publication’s January article that the Trump pal had a “secret romance” with 30 Rock and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt star Jane Krakowski, a story that both parties have flatly denied.
For years, the pillow mogul has been a personal friend of former President Donald Trump, and a diehard MAGA supporter and campaigner. During the 2020 presidential election, Lindell served as Trump 2020’s Minnesota co-chair, and following Trump’s loss in the Electoral College and general election to Democrat Joe Biden, the MyPillow CEO became one of the loudest voices in the country supporting the broader Trump effort to nullify the outcome of the presidential race. (Trump’s anti-democratic crusade on this, of course, climaxed with his instigation of the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., an event that led to the ex-president’s second impeachment in the House.)
During the tumultuous presidential transition period, Lindell was a major behind-the-scenes funder of several efforts to challenge the 2020 results, and near the very end of Trump’s term even visited the then-president at the White House to brief him on discredited documents alleging that China and other foreign nations helped hack the election and throw it to Biden. Ever since the start of the Biden era, Lindell has not given up aggressively promoting the fiction that Trump actually won, even as it has resulted in his banishment from certain social media platforms, his business getting shunned by other companies, and ballooning legal risk.
Alternative social media networks aimed at conservatives have been challenged by hacks and other technical issues, but Lindell claims Vocl won’t face those problems. Hackers recently hit far-right social network Gab, while social media platform Parler went offline for a month after the U.S. Capitol riot when Amazon Web Services pulled support for its hosting. In contrast, Lindell told Insider that Vocl will have its own servers, with “space-age stuff” to prevent hacking.
Lindell told Insider that Vocl has a staff of roughly 10 people, but declined to describe them or where they’re working “for their safety.”
Vocl users will be free to promote conspiracy theories about election fraud and vaccines, according to a speech Lindell gave Wednesday at a rally in Arizona.
“Every word out of their mouths is going to say Dominion, Smartmatic fraud, vaccine fraud,” Lindell told the cheering crowd, describing the content on Vocl.