Lego has admitted its decision to reject Ai Weiwei’s request for a bulk order of its bricks in 2015 was a “mistake”.
Vice-Chairman Kirk Kristiansen told The Wall Street Journal an employee had misinterpreted the company’s policy on political neutrality.
In October 2015, the Chinese artist said his request was declined because Lego considered his planned exhibition to be too political.
Ai Weiwei is known for criticism of the Chinese government.
“It was an internal mistake,” Kirk Kristiansen said.
He said the decision had been made “very low in the organization by our consumer service department”, and that Lego’s board had not been involved at the time.
Kirk Kristiansen’s son and successor Thomas added: “It is a typical example of what can go wrong in a big company.”
Lego’s refusal to provide bricks for Ai Weiwei’s artwork on political dissidents prompted people around the world to donate bricks at “Lego collection points” set up in different cities.
Ai Weiwei ended up making a new series of artworks based on the incident as a commentary on freedom of speech and political art.
In January 2016, Lego decided to stop asking bulk customers what they wanted to do with the bricks.
It said such customers should instead make clear that Lego does not endorse works shown in public.
The artist said Lego’s U-turn was a victory for freedom of speech.
Ai Weiwei also appeared to react to Lego’s decision by posting a picture on Instagram of a young boy sticking bricks onto his face, accompanied by a grinning emoji caption.
Lego will not renew a promotional contract with Royal Dutch Shell following pressure from environmental group Greenpeace.
The Danish toymaker did not say when its “long-term” contact with Shell expires.
Greenpeace has been campaigning against Arctic drilling by oil companies such as Shell and has accused Lego of associating with “bad company”.
Lego toys are handed out to people filling up at Shell gas stations in more than 30 countries.
As part of a branding deal first signed in 2011, Lego has also sold toy brick sets in the shape of petrol stations and drilling rigs with Shell’s logos on them.
Greenpeace said Shell has been using Lego to build brand loyalty with millions of children who are the “next generation of consumers”.
As part of its campaign, the lobby group uploaded a YouTube video showing Lego toys drowning in oil in the Arctic, which received nearly six million hits.
Greenpeace has been campaigning against Arctic drilling by oil companies such as Shell and has accused Lego of associating with bad company (photo Facebook)
Greenpeace said in response to Lego’s decision: “It should choose its partners more carefully when it comes to the threats facing our children from climate change.”
Lego Group president and chief executive Jorgen Vig Knudstorp said the company should never have become part of Greenpeace’s dispute with Shell.
“The Greenpeace campaign uses the Lego brand to target Shell,” he said in a statement.
“We firmly believe Greenpeace ought to have a direct conversation with Shell.”
“We do not agree with the tactics used by Greenpeace that may have created misunderstandings among our stakeholders about the way we operate,” Jorgen Vig Knudstorp added.
Shell said its contract with Lego “has been a great success and will continue to be as we roll it out in more countries across the world”.
The company has been exploring for oil in the Arctic since 1918 and is forecast to spend billions of dollars drilling for oil and other fossil fuels in the Arctic over the next decade.
In recent years, the practice has come under intense scrutiny because of concerns it will damage the environment and contribute to global warming.
“The extreme Arctic conditions, including giant floating icebergs and stormy seas, make offshore drilling extremely risky,” Greenpeace said.
“Scientists say that in the Arctic, an oil spill would be impossible to clean up meaning devastation for the Arctic’s unique wildlife.”
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World’s second-biggest toymaker LEGO has confirmed that it will produce a construction set based on the hit TV animation, The Simpsons.
The new kit will include figures of the main characters including Homer, Bart, Marge and Ned Flanders.
LEGO struck the deal with the show’s owners, Twentieth Century Fox.
Fox is scheduled to air an episode of The Simpsons featuring the cast in Lego form in May, in the US.
LEGO will produce a construction set based on hit TV animation The Simpsons
“We know our fans will love the challenge of building the Simpsons’ family home in great detail and the ability to collect quintessential characters in Lego minifigure form,” Jill Wilfert, from the LEGO Group said in a statement.
The Simpsons, a satirical parody of family life, has been running for 25 years making it the longest running scripted TV show in the US.
LEGO new set will go on sale in the US in February priced at $199.99. The company plans to launch a separate line of 16 Simpsons mini figures in May.
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Dating website Plenty of Fish has introduced a “Users Interested in Legos” tag to make it easier for fans of the building blocks to find each other.
Currently, there are 2,070 Lego-lovers worldwide, with 1,099 in the U.S. and the rest split between the UK and Canada.
CrazyLegoMan of Lafayette, Indiana is looking for a Christian woman who wants to have kids and doesn’t mind practical jokes, Gizmodo reports.
Dating website Plenty of Fish has introduced a “Users Interested in Legos” tag to make it easier for fans of the building blocks to find each other
His ideal mate would have a really weird sense of humor and enjoy pretending to be Amish. He’s also into playing drums at church, collecting medieval weapons and listening to Christian techno and bluegrass music.
“I’m really into LEGOS, but I realize that this isn’t something that any woman is going to want to do with me,” he writes.
“I’m just letting you know that it’s my #1 hobby.”
There is also a user forum called “Legos: Turn-off or not?”.
Plenty of Fish is free, and has more than 3.3 million users who browse the site every day and a vast range of tags.
A quick search of singles in the U.S. show that Lego lovers fall somewhere in popularity between yoga and Enya fans.