You can now use LEGO to make a political statement.
LEGO found itself embroiled in controversy last year when the Danish company refused Ai Weiwei’s bulk order on political grounds. The Chinese human rights activist and artist planned to use LEGO to create an artwork about freedom of speech, which was going to be displayed at the National Gallery of Victoria in Australia.
There was widespread backlash to LEGO’s decision, which Ai described as “an act of censorship and discrimination.” As a result of LEGO’s refusal, Ai was inundated by offers of donations of LEGO bricks from all over the world.
The company has now reversed its policy of asking what bulk orders will be used for. LEGO announced it was adjusting its guidelines in a statement posted on its website:
Previously, when asked to sell very large quantities of LEGO bricks for projects, the LEGO Group has asked about the thematic purpose of the project. This has been done, as 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.
However, those guidelines could result in misunderstandings or be perceived as inconsistent, and the LEGO Group has therefore adjusted the guidelines for sales of LEGO bricks in very large quantities.
LEGO’s new guidelines came into effect as of Jan. 1, 2016. Ai seemed pleased by the U-turn: