Lego Amends Bulk Order Policy After Ai Weiwei Slams Company For Censorship, Discrimination
Ai Weiwei, a Chinese contemporary artist and activist, is celebrating Lego’s decision to change its bulk order policy after the company refused to fill his order.
Lego Changes Bulk Order Policy
Weiwei had put in a request for Lego blocks last year in the hopes of using them to create a large piece of artwork in Australia in October. Weiwei, who is known for being critical of the Chinese government, had planned to use the Legos to create a work on political dissidents. Lego rejected Weiwei’s ask, claiming that the company policy prevented the blocks from being used for political statements.
In Lego’s rejection email, the company had stated, “We are not in a position to support the exhibition … by supplying the bulk order.”
In response to the rejection, Weiwei posted a picture on Instagram of Legos in a toilet, captioning it “Everything is awesome” in reference to The Lego Movie‘s popular theme song.
Weiwei also released a statement, which read, “As a commercial entity, Lego produces and sells toys, movies and amusement parks attracting children across the globe. As a powerful corporation, Lego is an influential cultural and political actor in the globalized economy with questionable values. Lego’s refusal to sell its product to the artist is an act of censorship and discrimination.”
Following the backlash from Weiwei, Lego has seen fit to amend its policy regarding bulk orders.
In a statement released this month, Lego conceded that the previous “guidelines could result in misunderstandings or be perceived as inconsistent, and the Lego Group has therefore adjusted the guidelines for sales of Lego bricks in very large quantities.”
“As of January 1st, the Lego Group no longer asks for the thematic purpose when selling large quantities of Lego bricks for projects,” the statement added. “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.”
Weiwei, who ultimately used non-Lego blocks for his October exhibition, was pleased to hear of Lego’s change of heart.
“I think Lego made a good move,” he told the BBC. “I think this would be a small victory for freedom of speech.”
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