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LEGO changes ethical guidelines after Chinese artist controversy

DANISH NEWS - Leading artist and Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei, was flooded with offers of Lego bricks from supporters after the company refused to supply him.

LEGO has amended its policy for sales of its iconic building bricks in very large quantites after the controversy surrounding Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, who accused the global toymaker of “censorship and discrimination” after it refused to allow him to use its products in a new exhibition.

Lego said at the time that, as a principle, the company ‘respects any individual’s right to free, creative expression’ but also that it has a long-standing policy not to directly sell to anyone if it knew that its bricks would be used to make a political statement, writes seven59.dk and borsen.dk.

A change of policy

After a storm of criticism, LEGO has now backed down and issued the following statement yesterday:

“Previously, when asked to sell very large quantities of LEGO® bricks for projects, the LEGO Group has asked about the thematic purpose of the project. This has been done, as the purpose of the LEGO Group is to inspire children through creative play, not to actively support or endorse specific agendas of individuals or organizations. However, those guidelines could result in misunderstandings or be perceived as inconsistent…as of January 1st, the LEGO Group no longer asks for the thematic purpose when selling large quantities of LEGO bricks for projects. Instead, the customers will be asked to make it clear – if they intend to display their LEGO creations in public – that the LEGO Group does not support or endorse the specific projects.”

Ai Weiwei, known for his criticism of the Chinese government as well as for being one of the world’s leading contemporary artists, was deluged with offers of Lego from supporters after the company refused to supply him.

Read the article on the Danish news site borsen.dk here and finans.dk

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