The company announced that it would donate $4 million to education non-profits that teach children about racial equality on Wednesday.
Toy brickmaker LEGO has joined the fight against racism with a move that caused quite a bit of stir on social media earlier this week. In light of the nationwide protests following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer and the Trump administration's hostility towards protestors, the company decided to pause some advertising for police and White House-related toys. An email sent to some online companies that sell LEGO sets requested that they immediately stop marketing for these products, reported trade website The Toy Book. However, the move prompted confused social chatter as to what sort of statement was being made by the Danish toy production company.
LEGO has ordered stores and retailers to pull out digital advertising for police-themed toy sets and pledged $4 million to organizations fighting racism. | @IBiongINQ https://t.co/2bf45K5uv2— Inquirer (@inquirerdotnet) June 5, 2020
The email sent to affiliate marketers by Rakuten Linkshare on behalf of the LEGO Group requested the immediate removal of product listings and features for over 30 LEGO building sets, Minifigures, and accessories. The products listed in the email include the LEGO City Police Station, Fire Station, Police Dog Unit, Patrol Car, Fire Plane, Mobile Command Center, Police Highway Arrest, the adult builder LEGO Creator version of The White House, and more. "In light of recent events, Lego has requested the below products to be removed from sites and any marketing ASAP," the email dated Tuesday stated.
the slow but very real progression into fascism as charted by the evolution of the Lego police officer pic.twitter.com/4NuUZ31Egr— wellness baz (@AliceAvizandum) June 20, 2019
Several recipients of the email took to Twitter with questions regarding the company's intentions behind the move.
Hey @LEGO_Group can you elaborate? Is it #BlackOutTuesday ? We all firmly believe #BlackLivesMattter . For decades #LEGO police & fire rescue have been the very best example how to protect and rescue fellow minifigs and kids playing. What kind of message are you making here?? pic.twitter.com/ZoLg2HlJTj— Brick Loft (@BrickLoftOrg) June 2, 2020
LEGO sent an email asking that police/fire/whitehouse (and donut shop) sets no longer be marketed effective immediately. pic.twitter.com/ydFE7dGTGA— Anti-Fascist Kingdom (@stitchkingdom) June 2, 2020
Got an email earlier from @Rakuten telling us to remove any ad links for @LEGO_Group products including a police theme.— Michael "The Ramen King" Clark (@firstmentormike) June 3, 2020
The products are still for sale, they just don't want them advertised.
Challenging times. pic.twitter.com/sxdjyUXZmJ
LEGO is the ideal world. That world will be crushed once a kid uses the minifigures and re-enacts what they are seeing on TV. It’s a sad world. https://t.co/AocXYk7aAq— Matt's Brick Gallery (@mbrickgallery) June 2, 2020
Just had an affiliate email asking for certain LEGO sets not to be advertised. They all seem to be related to emergency services - anyone have any idea what's happening?— SilentMode (@silentmodetv) June 2, 2020
LEGO issued a statement in response to the confusion which said: We’ve seen incorrect reports saying we’ve removed some LEGO sets from sale. To be clear, that is not the case and reports otherwise are false. Our intention was to temporarily pause digital advertising in response to events in the US. We hope this clears things up. Speaking to CNBC, a LEGO spokesperson addressed the email sent out to affiliate marketers and revealed that the company had paused marketing on its own social media for the concerned products.
If Lego can do it, the studios and networks can do it. https://t.co/rdrYwYhs8c— Alyssa Rosenberg (@AlyssaRosenberg) June 4, 2020
"We would like to clarify that we have not removed any sets from sale. The misunderstanding is the result of an email that was sent on our behalf to members of our affiliate marketing programme. The intent of the email was to ask that they pause promoting and marketing a selection of Lego products on their sites. We paused all marketing across our own social channels earlier this week in response to the tragic events in the U.S.," they clarified in an email sent to the network.
Lego instead of doing a long winded speech like most brands do and doing very little gave a tiny speech and donated 4 million to help black children and removed product listings and future releases of over 30 sets with police in it— 💖Onua💖 (@OnuaUlt) June 3, 2020
the absolute kings holy frick
"There is no place for racism in our society... Our mission is to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow, and that includes inspiring them to be tolerant, inclusive, and kind," the spokesperson added. Meanwhile, the company also announced on Wednesday that it would donate $4 million to education non-profits that teach children about racial equality. "We stand with the black community against racism and inequality. There is much to do. We will donate $4 million to organizations dedicated to supporting black children and educating all children about racial equality," said a statement posted to LEGO's social media profiles.