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Originally published on June 2, 2020. Updated with clarification statement from LEGO June 3, 3:45 p.m.
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.
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.
At press time these sets are still showing up on the LEGO website and many are still in stock and for sale. We have reached out to the LEGO Group for comment and will update this story accordingly.
UPDATE: A spokesperson for the LEGO Group responded to our request for comment with the following statement:
“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.”
Original story continues:
Throughout the day numerous LEGO-related fansites received the email prompting confused social chatter as to what sort of statement was being made and who called for the email to be sent out.
Hey @LEGO_Group can you elaborate? Is it #BlackOutTuesday ? We all firmly believe #BlackLivesMattter . For decades #LEGO police & fire rescue have been the very best example how to protect and rescue fellow minifigs and kids playing. What kind of message are you making here?? pic.twitter.com/ZoLg2HlJTj
— Brick Loft (@BrickLoftOrg) June 2, 2020
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
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 in case you wanted a gage on how bad things are getting, Lego just sent out a press release demanding that all sets featuring the police or property damage that are currently on store shelves be pulled indefinitely pic.twitter.com/yyP4fqxBxJ
— snack amigo (@rodakscreens) June 2, 2020
The products are still for sale, they just don’t want them advertised.
— Michael P Clark (@firstmentormike) June 3, 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
what Lego just said no more police sets lmao
LEGO Pledges Support
While the company has still not responded to requests for comment regarding the marketing email, LEGO published a message on its social platforms at 12:24 p.m. ET on June 3. LEGO says that it “will donate $4 million to organizations dedicated to supporting black children and educating all children about racial equality.”
Looting at the LEGO Store in NYC
The LEGO Store on Fifth Ave. in the Flatiron District of New York City was looted on June 1 alongside many other businesses as rioters put a damper on the peaceful protests taking place elsewhere in the city and around the world. Photographs of the destruction have since surfaced on Instagram showing that the popular store was stripped back to the bare shelves and a few permanent display pieces.
This content was originally published here.