I remember a project in elementary school — each student had to create a presentation about a hero they might like to be.
A popular choice among the boys: policeman or fireman.
My, have things changed.
Apropos, according to ToyBook.com — which follows toy manufacturing and marketing — LEGO wants to distance itself from support of America’s first responders.
The Toy Book reports, “The tragic death of George Floyd while being restrained by police in Minneapolis sparked major protests all over the country, and today we’re seeing the first impact in the toy department.”
Indeed — the site received a copy of an email on behalf of LEGO sent to marketing companies by Rakuten Linkshare.
It requests that product and feature listings for more than 30 LEGO products be removed.
The items will still be sold, but LEGO doesn’t want them visibly promoted.
Among them are the following:
LEGO Fire Station, Fire Plane, City Police Station, Patrol Car, Police Dog Unit, Police Highway Arrest, and Mobile Command Center.
The toymaker’s Police Handcuffs & Badge Set is getting arrested, too.
And fans of plastic construction toys in support of fried dough will be doubtlessly disappointed: The LEGO City Donut Shop Opening kit made the list, as it contains a police officer figurine.
There was substantial response online:
LEGO sent an email asking that police/fire/whitehouse (and donut shop) sets no longer be marketed effective immediately. pic.twitter.com/ydFE7dGTGA
— STiTCH KiNGDOM (@stitchkingdom) 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
I think the way the police is portrayed in LEGO city as well as the criminals is highly political and somehow also problematic.
— History’s Bricks (@Historysbricks) June 3, 2020
One user pointed out that America needs “brave activists and leaders, not police for sure.”
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
Man — even the Forest Fire one got burned:
The products are still for sale, they just don’t want them advertised.
Challenging times. pic.twitter.com/sxdjyUXZmJ
— Michael P Clark (@firstmentormike) June 3, 2020
Lego police are the only good police
— BLM⟭⟬DAECHWITA!⁷⟬⟭ (@jessthkgeek014) June 2, 2020
Not the donut shop too! 😆
— Jed (@Jaell_O) June 2, 2020
The Toy Book reached out to LEGO, which confirmed the move via email:
“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.”
On Wednesday, the toy giant tried to let everyone know it was on the side of the protestors:
— LEGO (@LEGO_Group) June 3, 2020
If only the looters — not to be confused with the protestors — had seen that earlier:
So there ya go — if emergency services is a waffle, LEGO wants to Leggo their Eggo.
But if you find the marketing maneuver less than politically pacifying, permit me to serve up satiation:
Also on the blacklist is the much-reviled White House playset.
This is the LEGO White House being pulled out of the market in the ultimate Danish act of passive aggression. pic.twitter.com/lnVhdx0qFU
— Tero Kuittinen (@teroterotero) June 3, 2020
Now we’ve got the kiddos straightened out.
¡Viva la Revolución!