This publicity photo provided by Nintendo/TT Fusion shows a scene from the video game, “Lego City Undercover." (AP Photo/Nintendo/TT Fusion)

Lego won’t cop rumours that playsets have been pulled from stores

AAP FactCheck June 10, 2020

The Statement

A Facebook post claims Danish toy company Lego is pulling police and emergency services-themed sets from shelves amid the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests in the United States and around the world.

The post is headlined, “Ya’ll Lego is removing police sets LMAO” and features a screenshot of an email titled, “Lego – Few Product Removals ASAP!”. It reads, “Hi There, In light of recent events LEGO has requested the below products to be removed from sites and any marketing ASAP” and is followed by a list of Lego police and firefighter sets as well as the White House.

Accompanying the post is a comment by the group Lego Star Wars II-core, which reads, “Lego are officially removing police sets from the shelves, legends.”

The June 4 post has received more than 115,000 views and more than 640 shares.

A Facebook post
 A Facebook post claims Lego is pulling police and emergency services-themed sets from shelves. 

The Analysis

The email featured in the Facebook post bears the watermark of Toy Book, a  US-based trade magazine for the toy industry.

In an article published on June 2, Toy Book said it received “a copy of an email sent to affiliate marketers by Rakuten Linkshare on behalf of the Lego Group”.

The article goes on to say the email requested the removal of product listings for more than 30 Lego building sets including mini figures and accessories that include the representation of police officers, firefighters, criminals, emergency vehicles, and buildings. Among the sets listed are Lego City Police Station, Fire Station, Police Dog Unit, Patrol Car, Fire Plane, Mobile Command Centre, Police Highway Arrest, the Lego City Donut Shop Opening set and “Crook” mini figures including a Police Handcuffs & Badge Set and the adult builder Lego Creator version of The White House.

The Facebook post led many to draw the conclusion that Lego was pulling products, including Brad Parscale,  US President Donald Trump’s campaign manager. Mr Parscale tweeted on June 4: “This is nuts. @LEGO_Group is removing playsets featuring police, firefighters & emergency vehicles. Even ditching an adult White House kit. We ought to stress the good in law enforcement for kids. What does @JoeBiden think about LEGO erasing cops?”

However Lego addressed the Toy Book report via its Twitter account on June 5: “We’ve seen incorrect reports saying we’ve removed some LEGO sets from sale. To be clear, that is not the case and reports otherwise are false. Our intention was to temporarily pause digital advertising in response to events in the US.”

A Lego spokesperson told Toy Book the company had “requested that our affiliate partners refrain from posting promotional LEGO content as part of our decision to respect #BlackOutTuesday and pause posting content on our social media channels in response to the tragic events in the US.”

Blackout Tuesday took place on June 2 as a protest against racism and police brutality following the death of African American man George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25.

A scene from Lego City Undercover.
 The Facebook post led many to draw the conclusion that Lego was pulling products such as police playsets. 

The Verdict

Based on the evidence, AAP FactCheck found the claims in the Facebook post to be false. Lego said in a statement that no products have been pulled from shelves. The email in the post was intended to put a temporary pause on Lego’s digital advertising out of respect for the Blackout Tuesday protests on June 2.

False – The primary claims of the content are factually inaccurate.

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