LEGO is all about fun block building. With millions of different sets around the world, it’s possible for kids to expand their imagination. They can build castles and roller coasters and fire departments and…
Not so fast. LEGO has chosen to get a bit political with all that’s been going on in the United States. With a video of George Floyd going viral, dying under the knee of a rogue cop in Minnesota, riots have broken out. People all over the country are questioning whether police are the good guys we make them out to be.
Most kids fantasize about what they want to be when they grow up: princesses, police officers, firefighters, and the list goes on and on. LEGO supports these different careers with the sets that they have created, too. It’s why there are so many castles and fire departments and police precincts. Some of the LEGO police stations have hundreds of pieces. The LEGO City kits are designed for those starting at the age of six. It gives them mini-figs to help create scenes and have fun.
LEGO doesn’t want to confuse the kids right now, however. They don’t want to have kids associate being a police officer with being fun, apparently.
LEGO has made the decision to distance themselves from not only police officers but all first responders. This means that the firefighters and EMT are linked in with them. LEGO has sent out a letter to all marketing companies to request that no advertising is done on sets that focus on first responders.
The products can still be sold, but they don’t want to emphasize that they sell them at this time. There are over 30 LEGO products that will be removed from advertising as a result of this letter.
Some of the kits that won’t be marketed include City Police Station, Police Dog Unit, and LEGO Fire Station.
Forget about donuts, too. That might be taking it one step too far, but the LEGO City Donut Shop Opening is a kit that made the list of what can’t be advertised, either. Why? One of the mini-figs in the box is a police officer.
So, now, kids won’t be able to play make-believe with the heroes they want to be. There will be no police officers, no fire departments, no police dogs, and not even any donuts.
Countless groups have been asking for LEGO to expand on their decision. While #BlackLivesMatter, the different police, and fire rescue sets have allowed kids of all ages to see how these first responders are capable of protecting and rescuing. Without them, where would we be? The mini-figs help kids to play out the roles in safe and proper ways.
No one is comparing what happens in LEGO City to what happens in the real world. LEGO kits are used for escapism. It keeps children in their bubble of being a kid so that they can play without being exposed to the politics.
However, LEGO remains silent. They have allowed the products to continue to sell but do not want them to be advertised. Why? They’re allowing their requests to the advertisers to be their only thoughts on the matter.
Perhaps the biggest outcry heard is that the donut shop is gone. Others on Twitter have said that the LEGO cops are the only good cops.
The only thing LEGO has made sure to do is to issue a statement to say that they stand with the black community. They have also identified that they will be donating $4 million to organizations responsible for supporting black children and teaching all children about racial inequality.
That’s great, LEGO, but seriously, in a time like this, kids need LEGO City in their lives. No one is asking for a mini-fig of George Floyd to re-enact what happened.
It’s not the first time LEGO has been in the crosshairs of politics, either. The White House LEGO set was pulled in some European markets.