A pile of Lego bricks (file image)
Lego says a special edition set celebrating diversity has become a beloved item among fans. Image by AP PHOTO

Lego LGBTQI set’s sales meme is a poorly constructed fake

William Summers June 29, 2022

The New York Times reported a Lego set celebrating the LGBTQI community generated the worst sales figures in the toy-maker's history.


False. The New York Times said the story is fake and Lego has not released its sales figures.

Lego celebrated LGBTQI Pride month in 2021 with the launch of a rainbow-coloured box set, but an internet meme claims the product’s sales are firmly in the red.

The meme uses an alleged New York Times headline to say the special edition celebrating diversity generated the worst sales in the Danish toy-maker’s history.

The claim is false. The headline is fabricated and no such article appeared in the newspaper or its website. The Lego Group told AAP FactCheck sales data has not been published but the set has been in “steady demand” since its launch.

The meme was posted on Instagram on June 22, but dates back to least July 2021, a few weeks after the set was launched.

It includes a headline attributed to the New York Times that reads: “The LEGO Pride set generated the worst sales data in the companies history,” along with a graph with the text “-63%” and an animated image of someone laughing.

The meme with a fake headline from the New York Times
 The meme alleges the Lego set supporting the LGBTQI community was a commercial failure. 

At the time of writing, the Instagram post has been viewed more than 350,000 times.

The meme refers to a product called Everyone is Awesome, a 346-piece special edition Lego set launched on June 1, 2021, to commemorate Pride month.

It includes 11 colourful minifigures, which Lego designer Matthew Ashton said intends to represent “the broad diversity of everyone within the LGBTQIA+ community“.

Pride month is celebrated each June in recognition of the 1969 Stonewall protests in New York City, which the Library of Congress describes as “a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States”.

The meme includes a screenshot of an alleged headline from a New York Times article, but the story does not exist. The New York Times website does not include any articles about the Lego set.

A Google search for the article on the New York Times website also comes up blank. A spokeswoman for the newspaper said the headline is fake.

“This is a fabricated image and headline, which has never been published by The New York Times,” communications director Nicole Taylor told AAP FactCheck in an email.

The headline also contains a grammatical error, with a plural reference to “the companies history”, instead of the singular “company’s history”.

“One of the ways readers can identify fake images is by checking for obvious spelling errors, and inconsistencies with usual editorial style or format, such as title case headlines,” Ms Taylor said.

Lego Group spokeswoman Jennifer MacDonald also told AAP FactCheck the headline is fabricated.

She said the company had not released sales numbers, but the Everyone is Awesome set was “far from the worst-selling set of all time”.

“Everyone Is Awesome is a beloved LEGO set, with a 4.5-star rating on LEGO.com,” Ms MacDonald said in an email.

“We continue to see steady demand since our launch one year ago.”

A previous claim Lego had unveiled “new genderless bricks with no male/female connectors” was debunked as satire.

In 2020, AAP FactCheck debunked a claim Lego pulled police and emergency services-themed sets from shelves amid Black Lives Matter protests.

The Verdict

The claim that the New York Times reported a Pride Lego set had generated the worst sales figures in the toy-maker’s history is false. The newspaper confirmed the headline was a fake and Lego said it has not released sales figures. The Danish company said the set continues to be popular with its customers.

False – The claim is inaccurate.

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