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4 Jun, 2020 13:23

LEGO joins corporate virtue-signaling squad after pulling police & White House sets. Skeptics doubt its original intention

LEGO joins corporate virtue-signaling squad after pulling police & White House sets. Skeptics doubt its original intention

The Left has praised toymaker LEGO after it asked shops to hide sets related to police and the White House. But critics suspect a typical corporate wish to distance itself from controversy was at the core of the firm's decision.

LEGO is “taking a firm stand in support of protestors and the Black Lives Matter movement,” according to New York magazine's pop culture news site Vulture. The praise comes after the company decided to pull police-themed sets from shelves and pledged to donate $4 million to supporting black children.

“Well done, LEGO,” left-wing Twitter users cried in delight. “You've dropped this, king.”

But look a bit closer, and the story may seem slightly different. On Wednesday LEGO told retailers to pull 30 toy sets from shelves and stop advertising them “in light of recent events.” The list of banned toys seems to include everything even remotely related to police, fires and firefighters, plus a White House set.

The email was instantly leaked to toy industry media, and puzzled fans came out in droves asking what was wrong with the Donut Shop Opening set (hint: it includes ‘Police Officer Duke DeTain’ and ‘Crook’ minifigures).

A cynic might think that LEGO simply wanted to steer clear of any possible controversy while the US is coping with mass protests against police brutality, nights of arson and looting, and a heated political clash over President Donald Trump's response to it. After all, when you sell toys, you may get spooked by even a whiff of a racially loaded scandal, even if it's over a ‘blackface pumpkin’ or an ad for a Black Panther costume featuring a white child model.

But LEGO was quick to clarify that nothing of the sort was behind the move. The pullout order was part of a decision “to respect #BlackOutTuesday and pause posting content on our social media channels in response to the tragic events in the US,” it said. And the failure to mention this motive in the email was due to a “misunderstanding.”

To make things absolutely clear, the next day the company pledged via its Twitter to make a donation to the black cause, reaping a ton of good publicity and only a handful of skeptical responses.

LEGO is in the fine company of other corporate giants like Nike, Adidas, Logitech and Netflix, all of which engaged in some virtue signaling in the wake of the killing of George Floyd and the outpouring of anger it caused. Or they took a “a firm stand in support” of the protesters, depending on who you ask.

Also on rt.com Nike and more giants of corporate wokeness SIDE with the rioters – but that won’t keep LOOTERS at bay

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