LEGO’s refusal to sell bulk bricks to Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was ‘an internal mistake’

Danish toy maker LEGO has admitted that its decision to reject Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s request for a bulk order of its bricks last year was ‘an internal mistake’.

The toy firm’s vice chairman Kirk Kristiansen has told the Wall Street Journal that an employee had misinterpreted the company’s policy on political neutrality.

In October 2015, the artist widely known for his criticism of the Chinese government was declined access to a bulk order of LEGO bricks when the firm considered the planned exhibition to be too political.

“It was an internal mistake,” said Kristiansen who has stated that it was one made ‘very low’ in the organisation by its consumer service department.

According to the vice-chairman, LEGO’s board had not been involved at the time.

The BBC reports that LEGO’s refusal to provide bricks for Ai’s artwork on political dissidents prompted people around the world to donate bricks to LEGO collection points in different cities.

As a result, Ai created a new series of artworks based on the incident as a commentary on freedom of speech in political art.

In January this year, LEGO decided to stop asking bulk customers what they wanted to do with the bricks, instead stating that such customers should make it clear that the company does not endorse works shown in public.

About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of ToyNews and its sister title, Licensing.biz. He has worked his way from Staff Writer to Editor across the two titles, having spent almost eight years with both and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing robert.hutchins@biz-media.co.uk or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobGHutchins if ranting is your thing...

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