from january, “Lego changes bulk buy policy after Ai Weiwei backlash”
also from january, “Ai Weiwei: Lego decision is 'victory for free speech'”
From this month: Lego admits 'mistake' in Ai Weiwei row
I've been following this thread since back on October. In 2015, the Lego company rejected a mass order of bricks from the famous artist A Weiwei who planned on using them for an art piece on on political dissidents, saying that its policy was to “reject requests if it believed the bricks would be used to make a political statement.” Ai Weiwei understandably fought against this policy, making clear that he say it as a violation of free speech. In january, the company did shift their policy on bulk purchasing, saying that they would no longer ask what the bricks would be used for, and would requests that artist make clear the the Lego company is not affiliated with the agenda of their work.
What I liked most about this thread was that it prompted so much discussion about WeiWei’s work and the issues it was addressing, and prompted people internationally to donate lego bricks for the piece. I also loved the fact that Ai Weiwei was inspired to make a new series of work based on the entire incident with lego, as a commentary on “freedom of speech and political art..”
I used this as a awareness post because the whole incident has returned to the news in recent weeks. Lego has put out a statement that the whole thing was a “ internal mistake....a decision that had been made very low in the organisation by our consumer service department” without the involvement of the Lego Board.I find this to be a bit of a weak apology. The statement seems to say that the upper levels of the Lego company had no say or control in the matter. Even if the statement had been released by the customer service department without the advisement of the upper company, if they viewed it as a mistake, why didn't they remedy it the moment the story hit news, instead of months later?
Anyways, even if I question it a bit, I am glad to hear that Lego is issuing a formal apology over the matter. Though the incident was an unfortunate one, I am happy for the conversations it sparked on arts, politics, and contreversy in the news.