Lego Changes Policy on Using Bricks for Politics

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei can now get his Lego bricks in bulk
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 13, 2016 9:00 AM CST
Lego Changes Policy on Using Bricks for Politics
Ai seems happy with the news.   (Instagram)

Whether it was a genuine change of heart, the #legosforweiwei hashtag, or other public backlash, the Lego Group is now OK sending piles of its famous bricks to the person who's been called "China's most dangerous man." The company had refused to sell in bulk to artist Ai Weiwei, saying it had a long-standing policy of not supporting works with a "political agenda," the AP reports. But Ai, who's often taken on the Chinese government in his art, leveled charges of censorship and rallied the support of people around the world. Now Lego has changed its policy, per Australia's ABC. "As of January 1st, the Lego Group no longer asks for the thematic purpose when selling large quantities of Lego bricks for projects," a statement on the company's site reads.

After Lego initially declined to fill his order, Ai set up "Lego collection points" in various cities to which people could donate their own bricks, the BBC reports. He even went so far as to suggest a conflict of interest, pointing out a planned Legoland park in Shanghai, CNNMoney notes. Lego explained the previous policy existed because "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." But, after acknowledging its statements could lead to "misunderstandings," the company changed course. Ai's reaction on Twitter has been a series of retweets about the news, as well as a statement saying, "Nice move." He also posted images on Instagram that show his face plastered with Lego bricks—a far cry from the Legos-in-toilet-bowl pic he once posted. (Ai just got his passport back in July.)

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