Since everything is less than awesome right now, Lego is requesting that online ads are pulled for all its police and fire-related toys.
As first reported by toy industry trade magazine The Toybook and confirmed by EW, Lego sent a message to affiliate marketers in the wake of the death of George Floyd that went viral this week when it listed 30 building sets, mini-figures, and accessories "to be removed from sites and marketing ASAP."
Toys included a police station, fire station, mobile command center, police patrol car, police handcuffs and badge, and, appropriately enough, a doughnut shop (which includes police mini-figures). A White House playset was also included on the list.
Got an email earlier from @Rakuten telling us to remove any ad links for @LEGO_Group products including a police theme.— Michael "The Ramen King" Clark (@firstmentormike) June 3, 2020
The products are still for sale, they just don't want them advertised.
Challenging times. pic.twitter.com/sxdjyUXZmJ
The move came a day after a Lego Store in New York City was reported looted on Monday along with a number of other businesses.
On Wednesday, Lego announced on Twitter it would donate $4 million to “organizations dedicated to supporting black children and educating all children about racial equality.”
Early reports about the message led some to falsely assume that Lego would no longer sell police toys. In a statement provided to EW, Lego confirmed sellers were asked to pause marketing certain toys, but noted they were still being sold:
"There is no place for racism in our society. We stand with the black community against racism and inequality. Our mission is to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow, and that includes inspiring them to be tolerant, inclusive and kind. There is more to do and as one small step, we are donating US$4 million to organizations in the U.S. dedicated to organizations that support black children and others that educate all children about tolerance and racial equality.
We would like to clarify that we have not removed any sets from sale. The misunderstanding is the result of an email that was sent on our behalf to members of our affiliate marketing program. The intent of the email was to ask that they pause promoting and marketing a selection of LEGO products on their sites. We paused all marketing across our own social channels earlier this week in response to the tragic events in the U.S.
We regret any misunderstanding and will be clearer about our intentions in the future."
To help combat systemic racism, please consider donating to these organizations:
- Campaign Zero, which is dedicated to ending police brutality in America through research-based strategies.
- Color of Change, which works to move decision makers in corporations and government to be more responsive to racial disparities.
- Equal Justice Initiative, which provides legal services to people who have been wrongly convicted, denied a fair trial, or abused in state jails and prisons.