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LEGO pauses advertising for police, White House sets; plans $4 million donation to non-profits
Both companies and high-profile figures in the entertainment world have lent their voices, and offered funds and resources, to the global unrest in response to the in-custody death of George Floyd in Minnesota. But the Black Lives Matter movement has impacted one of the world's most famous toy companies a little differently.
The LEGO Group, creator of those famous toy bricks, confirmed Thursday that it has paused digital marketing of its products in response to the current cultural climate. Per CNBC, those sets include, among others, products involving police officers, firefighters, and even the White House.
A spokesperson for LEGO tells SYFY WIRE, "Our intention was to temporarily pause digital advertising in response to events in the U.S.," adding: "Generations of children have loved playing with our LEGO police and firefighter sets, which can often be found in our LEGO CITY line and is a constant in our collection. These were available last week and will always be available to our fans. Given the tragic events in the U.S. over the past 10 days, we paused digital marketing of sets [with] content that could be perceived insensitive if promoted at this time."
The company, however, is dispelling reports, which began circulating earlier this week, that products themselves have been pulled from stores entirely.
The LEGO Group clarified the matter in a statement posted to Twitter:
"The short is, we did not pull product from shelves, we paused marketing from social media," the spokesperson explains to SYFY WIRE.
The company is also donating $4 million to non-profit organizations in the U.S. dedicated to educating children about racial inequality.
"We stand with the black community against racism and inequality. Our mission is to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow, and that includes inspiring them to be tolerant, inclusive, and kind," LEGO's spokesperson says, noting that the company's $4 million donation is "dedicated to non-profits that support black children and others that educate all children and families about tolerance and racial equality."
There is no word on when marketing may resume for specific LEGO sets, as protests continue to unfold around the world calling for police reform and social justice — including outside the White House.