Home Arts & Culture Lego Reverses Bulk Purchase Policy after Ai Weiwei Controversy

Lego Reverses Bulk Purchase Policy after Ai Weiwei Controversy


Lego has announced it is reversing its policy on bulk purchases and will no longer ask customers what they want to use the bricks for.

The U-turn follows a recent controversy involving Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.

In October 2015, Ai Weiwei accused Lego of censorship when it refused to sell its bricks directly to him.

Lego said its policy was to reject requests if it believed the bricks would be used to make a political statement.

Ai Weiwei wanted to make an artwork on political dissidents.

The artist ended up using bricks donated to him by the public for an exhibition in Melbourne, Australia.Lego and Ai Weiwei controversy

In a statement posted on its website on January 12, Lego said it used to ask customers ordering bulk purchases for the “thematic purpose” of their project, as it did not want to “actively support or endorse specific agendas”.

“However, those 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,” it said.

As of January 1, 2015, Lego will instead ask that customers make clear the group does not support or endorse their projects, if exhibited in public.

Lego’s decision to refuse Ai Weiwei’s request angered the artist, who accused the company of censorship and discrimination, and of attempting to define political art.

Ai Weiwei also linked Lego’s stance with plans for a new Legoland in Shanghai.

The controversy sparked a public backlash resulting in supporters around the world offering to donate toy bricks.

Ai Weiwei set up “Lego collection points” in different cities, and ended up making a new series of artworks based on the incident as a commentary on freedom of speech and political art.

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