January 15, 2016

Those who try to order vast quantites of Legos will no longer be asked what they intend to do with them.

This policy change is a reaction to the criticism the company received when it refused to sell Legos in bulk to the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. Lego didn't want its product connected to in anything political.
In response, Mr. Ai called Lego’s decision an act of “censorship and discrimination,” and set up Lego collection points at sites across the world, including outside the Martin-Gropius-Bau museum in Berlin and his own studio in Beijing.

In a statement posted on its website on Tuesday, the Lego Group said it had previously asked customers to explain the “thematic purpose” of bulk orders “as the purpose of the Lego Group is to inspire children through creative play, not to actively support or endorse specific agendas of individuals or organizations.”
The old policy was deemed vulnerable to "misunderstandings."

14 comments:

rhhardin said...

Erector sets and tinker toys were the thing when I was a kid.

Legos seem to transformerish to me, a fad that will die out as kids come to their senses.

rhhardin said...

Gilbert chemistry sets were out there too, but I always hated chemistry. Smells and wetness.

Even the explosives didn't overcome it.

rehajm said...

the purpose of the Lego Group is to inspire children through creative play, not to actively support or endorse specific agendas of individuals or organizations.”

I shouldn't hold my breath for the Lego Trump Helicopter Set then?

tim maguire said...

The old policy was vulnerable to understandings. As I (and many others) asked at the time, where does Lego get off claiming they are endorsing a message merely by making a legal sale of a product they produce and sell?

Kristian Holvoet said...

"Legos seem to transformerish to me, a fad that will die out as kids come to their senses."

A fad since 1947. This is worse than describing Star Wars as a fad (like a Christian Family book from the 2010's described SW).

While Legos enthusiasm may fade, I think they have stayed relevany long enough to the surpass the Fad label.

Renee said...

@tim

Bad publicity by PR specialists.

Let's say I build a statute of a bride & groom, in defense of marriage. SJWs could either protest me for homophobia or a patriarchal institution. But they will go further demanding Lego to make a statement admonishing me or there will be calls for a Lego boycott.

Thorley Winston said...

Erector sets and tinker toys were the thing when I was a kid.

I had LEGOs as a kid but my grandparents used to have a couple of sets of Lincoln Logs and Tinker Toys from when my mom was a kid that they let us play with when we came over. The only rules were no throwing them (especially at each other), we had to play with them on the dining room table and put them back in the canister when we were done. I have no idea how old that set was but other than some of the green planks from the Lincoln Log set being kid of faded and a few broken stick pieces from the Tinker Toy set, they were still in very good shape decades later. Probably because my grandparents taught their kids (and reinforced in their grandkids) the importance of taking care of your things and putting them away when you’re done.

Miss you grandma and grandpa. :)

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

I like LEGO's old policy. Wish more companies were committed to being politically neutral. Looking at Kraft with their ridiculous rainbow colored snack foods.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Let's say I build a statute of a bride & groom, in defense of marriage. SJWs could either protest me for homophobia or a patriarchal institution. But they will go further demanding Lego to make a statement admonishing me or there will be calls for a Lego boycott.

Yes, this exactly. I don't blame LEGO for not wanting that kind of headache.

Fred Drinkwater said...

Most folks with business experience have had the experience of having to "fire" a customer who was more trouble than they were worth.

Barry Dauphin said...

This just in... Bic will ask all customers what they plan to write with their pens and will not allow the purchase of pens used to write anything controversial.

Crazy Jane said...

Legos can be used for creative play and art projects, but these uses are rare. Almost all Lego sales are of themed kits (Star Wars is trending now) with step-by-step instructions on building something designed by grownups. No creativity there.

Quaestor said...

Last time I checked Legos are made of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene. When they were first introduced the material was cellulose acetate. Too bad they're not made of cyclotrimethylene trinitramine, then they'd be really interesting, and The Lego Group would have a legit rationale for their ferreting ways.

Danes... what the hell do you do with those dour Lutherans? They've already lost the cookie business to the ChiComs, do they want to hand over their building toy empire as well?

stutefish said...

This just in... Bic will ask all customers what they plan to write with their pens and will not allow the purchase of pens used to write anything controversial.

It's kind of hard to keep the Lego name off of a protest art installation made of Lego.

I'm sure that Bic has a very strict policy about activists not appropriating the Bic name in the service of their activism.

Artists are not entitled to involve the names and reputations of others in their work, no matter how righteous or popular that work is. Wei needed to either convince Lego to be a part of his protest, or find a supplier that wanted to be a part of that protest, or find a way to keep his supplier anonymous when making his protest.

With Bic pens, anonymity is easy. With Lego, impossible.