LEGO’s Ban On Use In Artwork Backfires, People ‘Build’ Their Feelings

Who knew that we would reach a day where something as innocent-seeming as a TOY company – albeit a super successful one with a 141 minute advertisement movie starring Chris Pratt – would be a the target of widespread criticism?

Not us, and probably not them, but we have reached that day, folks, and everything is not awesome for LEGO.

They’re currently at the epicentre of a shitstorm for refusing a shipment to Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei on political grounds.

Weiwei – who is a longstanding critic of the Chinese Communist Party – was planning to use the LEGO to build an exhibition on political dissidents and free speech in Australia.

LEGO, on the other hand, decided to reject the bulk order citing their policy that “in cases where we receive requests for donations or support for projects – such as the possibility or purchasing Lego bricks in large quantities – where we are made aware that there is a political context, we therefore kindly decline support.”

Other reasons for LEGO refusing to sell to Weiwei *might* include the fact that they just opened a new factory in China last year, and that they announced they’ll be building a new Legoland in Shanghai last week, and that they grew sales in China by 50% in 2014, but y’know. It might also be the political thing.

In reaction to LEGO’s decision, Weiwei did a cheeky and chucked up this Duchamp-inspired smack down:

“Everything is awesome “

A photo posted by Ai Weiwei (@aiww) on

And then the citizens of the internet just kind of rose up to support Weiwei, because AAWWWW #peoplepower. Isn’t this just a wonderful place you guys?

Some even began offering to donate THEIR LEGO to Weiwei, as they no longer felt it appropriate to play with toys from a company they’d clarify as dickhead extremis.

Weiwei now announced that not only will he find a way to accept the donations, but he’ll be changing his art project to defend freedom of speech and “political art”.

In September 2015 Lego refused to sell Ai Weiwei Studio a bulk order of Lego bricks for Ai’s artworks to be exhibited at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne on the basis of the works’ “political” nature. Ai posted this notice on his Instagram on Friday, October 23rd. Lego’s position triggered a torrent of outrage on social media against this assault on creativity and freedom of expression. Numerous supporters offered to donate Lego to Ai. In response to Lego’s refusal and the overwhelming public response, Ai Weiwei has now decided to make a new work to defend freedom of speech and “political art”. Ai Weiwei Studio will announce the project description and Lego collection points in different cities. This is the first phase of the coming projects.

A photo posted by Ai Weiwei (@aiww) on

To be perfectly frank, LEGO… suck it.