The LEGO Group is the latest company being targeted for a boycott by conservatives over an LGBTQ-inclusive campaign they falsely claim was aimed at children.
Last year, the LEGO Group launched its “A-Z of Awesome” campaign, designed to raise awareness of the identities and stories of people in the LGBTQ community.
As part of the campaign, the company released various videos touting LEGO building sets constructed by LGBTQ adult fans of the brand, who used the multi-colored blocks to create scenes reflecting their identities, including several with LEGO characters representing same-sex families.
The “A-Z of Awesome” campaign videos feature some members of GayFOLs, a group for LGBTQ “Fans of LEGO,” talking about the builds they created. One intersex individual, Pidgeon, created a black and white checkered space, representing the gender binary, with a small purple and yellow intersex flag in the middle to represent themselves.
In another video, Jeannie, a transgender participant in the project, is seen talking about a “transgender garden” they created with different symbols or colors contained within the project representing various aspects of gender.
“Toys were very gendered. Boys played with this, and girls played with that,” Jeannie says in the video, underscoring what has long been — and will likely continue to be — one of the key appeals of LEGO toys, even without taking LGBTQ identity into account.
“So for myself, growing up as a kid, I loved playing with LEGO bricks, because it didn’t matter,” she adds. “They weren’t really for boys. They weren’t for girls. They were for everyone.”
In response to the campaign, British influencer Oli London — who previously identified as “transracial,” gender-neutral, and transgender — shared the video featuring Jeannie, which can be found on LEGO’s website, writing in a since-deleted tweet: “LEGO turns TRANS!”
“Children’s toy maker LEGO has released an LGBTQI+ range featuring transgender building sets for kids age 5+,” wrote London, who currently serves as a spokesperson for Caitlyn Jenner’s “Fairness First” political action committee, which primarily focuses on prohibiting transgender people from competing in sport against cisgender females.
“LEGO described the new range as ‘a colourful alphabet of identities and definitions made from LEGO bricks,'” added London.
The company pushed back on the assertions that it had marketed the LGBTQ-themed LEGO universes at children.
“The information on Twitter is false. We have not released any LGBTQIA+ sets aimed at children. A-Z of Awesome was a marketing campaign released last year that featured sets built by our amazing adult fans,” the company said in a statement to Newsweek. “None of these sets are for sale.”
London later deleted the tweet, but the damage had been done, with anti-“woke” activists adding the LEGO Group to the list of companies they are choosing to boycott to protest what they see as companies embracing left-wing politics.
The aim of the boycotts is not only to hurt the companies financially in the short term, but to make consumers uncomfortable with associating themselves with certain brands in the long run.
Recently, social conservatives have called for boycotts against beer brand Bud Light for partnering with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney for a digital campaign, and against big-box retail giant Target for offering Pride-themed merchandise in its stores.
Still others have called for boycotts of Miller Lite over an allegedly “woke” commercial — now more than two months old — highlighting the historical role that women played in beer brewing, as well as Ford Motors and Jack Daniels for years-old campaigns, no longer airing, that were geared towards LGBTQ consumers.
Other companies being targeted by conservatives for LGBTQ-themed advertising campaigns include Starbucks, Nike, and Adidas.
Back in April, the LEGO Group announced that its A-Z of Awesome creations would go on display at LEGO House in Billund, Denmark, beginning on June 8.
In what appeared to be a response to the announcement, a video went viral on social media showing a LEGO store customer berating multiple store employees for wearing LGBTQ badges and accusing the company of pushing an agenda centered around indoctrinating people into accepting LGBTQ identity as normal, reports Newsweek.
At the time, a spokesperson for LEGO group condemned attacks against store employees: “The safety, wellbeing, and security of our LEGO retail colleagues is our absolute priority, and we will not tolerate abuse of any kind. We are committed to building a more kind, empathetic and understanding society now, and for future generations, and stand by all our colleagues who do that every day by making everyone feel welcome in our stores.”
On social media, conservatives lamented the pro-LGBTQ ad campaign, vowing not to purchase LEGO products and hoping the company loses business.
“Not @LEGO_Group too!” tweeted one user. “We loved you, LEGO, for being fun and staying out of politics. I guess my four kids and I will be going elsewhere for innocent kids’ toys going forward.”
“Please let @LEGO_Group be the next company to lose billions,” tweeted another user. “Go woke, go broke.”
But other users mocked conservatives over what they see as faux outrage, especially as the list of large, popular companies who offend them appears to grow exponentially by the minute.
“Conservatives call us snowflakes then get triggered by LEGO,” tweeted one user.
“Conservatives who got mad at ‘cancel culture’ [are] trying to force companies out of business if they support LGBTQ people. Yet more hypocrisy,” tweeted another.
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