The Danish toymaker Lego has asked retailers to pull promotional materials for some play figures in response to the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, including all police figures, firefighters, and accessories, and even the White House.
The Toy Book obtained the email sent to retailers:
The Toy Book has received a copy of an email sent to affiliate marketers by Rakuten Linkshare on behalf of the LEGO Group. The email requests removal of product listings and features for more than 30 LEGO building sets, Minifigures, and accessories that include representation of police officers, firefighters, criminals, emergency vehicles, and buildings. Sets include the LEGO City Police Station, Fire Station, Police Dog Unit, Patrol Car, Fire Plane, Mobile Command Center, Police Highway Arrest, and many more. Even the LEGO City Donut Shop Opening set — which includes Police Officer “Duke DeTain” and “Crook” Minifigures — roleplay items including a Police Handcuffs & Badge Set, and the adult builder LEGO Creator version of The White House made the removal list.
The website also reported that a spokesperson with Lego responded to their request for comment:
We requested that our affiliate partners refrain from posting promotional LEGO content as part of our decision to respect #BlackOutTuesday and pause posting content on our social media channels in response to the tragic events in the US. We regret any misunderstanding and will ensure that we are clearer about our intentions in the future.
Lego has also joined the long list of corporate virtue-signaling, according to the U.K.’s Metro:
Lego has donated $4 million in a bid to support black children and fight racial inequality, in the wake of the protests taking place around the world. Protests were sparked across the US after George Floyd died during an arrest, when white police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes, despite his insistence that he couldn’t breathe. Following his death, people have taken to the streets to march in support of Black Lives Matter. And Lego has now pledged millions of dollars to fight racism and educate kids about equality.
— LEGO (@LEGO_Group) June 3, 2020
Toy Book also reported that Lego stores were among those businesses attacked and looted in New York earlier this week.
The Insider website reported that while Lego’s decision is being praised, some are critical because they believe it is only temporary. “People are reading this tweet as if they’re pulling police-based Lego products. They’re not; they’re temporarily pausing their advertising of such products,” one tweet read.
“It’s not clear yet if that means the company plans to pull the products off the market,” Insider wrote.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to clarify that the company asked retailers to pull promotional materials for these products, not actually take merchandise off their shelves.
Author: Penny Starr