If you’re not living under a shell or in a cave lately, then it’s hard to miss what’s going around in this larger part of the world. I have to admit that I somehow felt out of tune with what’s going on recently, especially that I wasn’t around during the past week updating our blog site. Work from home as brought about by this pandemic turns out to be a more complicated, complex, and oftentimes daunting arrangement. However, far from putting the spotlight on the challenges of working from home, greater issues are pressing down on our society that is getting more traction as the days roll by. So much so that even a multinational company such as LEGO is now slowly making its stand known to the general public. As such, LEGO took to social media to weigh in on these issues and to release a statement that clarifies the availability of some of its LEGO City sets.
It is no secret on how LEGO makes its stand about the recent social unrest sweeping the US and other countries in Europe. In a rare gesture, LEGO has weighed in on the issue by stating its position on racism and racial inequality. Such issues have lately reached a tipping point prompted by the unfortunate death of George Floyd at the hands of arresting US police officers.
— LEGO (@LEGO_Group) June 3, 2020
The LEGO fan community was quick to respond. From a broad spectrum of opinions ranging from showing support and admiration to the LEGO Group for its act of benevolence of donating $4 million in support of black children, to clear disappointment. Some fans were even saying that LEGO has now dipped its finger unto politics – an area that the company rarely dabbles with (notwithstanding the ban on the use of military guns and vehicles in its sets).
And just a day after TLG released this statement, it followed up with a gesture that shows how the company intends to keep its word. In an email sent to marketing affiliate partners, LEGO has requested the immediate removal of certain LEGO City products on their websites and other online platforms. The LEGO City sets in question were those that depict front-liners such as law enforcers and firefighters in light of the recent events that are happening across the globe. This news about LEGO’s decision in halting marketing and promotions for these LEGO City sets, needless to say, didn’t sit well with many LEGO fans. With some thinking that LEGO might also plan to remove them from store shelves indefinitely. As a result, LEGO immediately released the following statement.
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. ♥️
— LEGO (@LEGO_Group) June 4, 2020
Taken for what it is, LEGO makes it clear that it has no plans of removing these LEGO City sets from their stores and other third-party retailers, and does not intend to do so for such reasons. It also reiterates what it said in their email that they are temporarily stepping on the breaks on the digital advertising of these sets, with no mention of when they will actively promote it again.
In case you’re curious, here’s a screenshot of the sets in question. I did not provide affiliate links for them out of respect for LEGO’s request but feel free to check them out at LEGO Shop@Home.
In spite of how we feel about it, I’m personally glad that LEGO has no plans of pulling out these sets from their stores eventually. I have to agree with some LEGO fans when they say that these LEGO City sets are basically looked upon as toys by children, and even as a stress-relieving hobby for adult fans of LEGO. They contain a certain degree of innocence and neutrality as most toys should be. Furthermore, being a teacher and a parent, I see these LEGO City sets as a way of helping children process what they see and hear around them brought about by these turn of events. This is where a LEGO set becomes an invaluable teaching tool in the hands of a capable parent or caretaker. LEGO City sets such as those mentioned above can help children understand the dynamics of what is going on around them.
After all, if Sesame Street’s Elmo and his dad Louie can communicate the topic of racism to millions of children and parents, I believe LEGO can do the same with bricks, and perhaps even better.