LEGO debunked a rumor that it was no longer selling or advertising sets including police or its new White House set for adult builders in response to the protests of George Floyd's death. One report claimed the toymaker was pulling all advertising for police sets, but LEGO clarified that it just asked its affiliate partners to stop posting all LEGO advertising during "Blackout Tuesday." President Donald Trump's campaign manager Brad Parscale shared the article, claiming it said LEGO was "removing" police playsets and "ditching" a White House set, but none of that is true.
Back on Tuesday, The ToyBook published a copy of an email Rakuten Linkshare sent to affiliate marketers for the LEGO Group. The email asked advertising for several LEGO City sets that include police Minifigures and emergency vehicles, including "Police Helicopter Chase," "Fire Chief Response Truck," "Police Dog Unit" and "Police Patrol Car." Parscale shared a link to this report, accusing LEGO of "removing" the police sets and asking former Vice President Joe Biden what he thought about LEGO "erasing cops."
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. We hope this clears things up. ♥️— LEGO (@LEGO_Group) June 4, 2020
LEGO later sent a statement to The ToyBook, clarifying the email to advertisers. "We 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," the statement read. "We regret any misunderstanding and will ensure that we are clearer about our intentions in the future." In a separate statement to Snopes, LEGO explained, "Given the tragic events in the US over the past 10 days, we paused digital marketing of sets with content that could be perceived insensitive if promoted during this time."
LEGO also published a message on Twitter, calling reports that they are pulling the sets false. In fact, police sets are still listed on the LEGO site. The new LEGO Architecture White House set is also still listed on the LEGO site as "coming soon." The toymaker announced it will donate $4 million to organizations "dedicated to supporting black children and educating all children about racial equality."
Floyd died on May 25 when now-former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pinned Floyd to the ground by putting his knee on Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes. Chauvin was fired and was first charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. On Wednesday, the charge was upgraded to second-degree murder. Three other officers who watched Chauvin but did not stop him were fired and charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter.