The toy company Lego has refused to fill a bulk order from Chinese artist, Ai Weiwei, claiming that it “cannot approve the use of Legos for political works.” You see, the artist has been an outspoken critic of the Chinese government and has produced works using Legos depicting fellow dissidents. Meanwhile, Lego has a financial interest in a company that plans to open LegoLand, a theme park in Shanghai. Political criticism wouldn’t be good for business.
So, Legos, which had never previously refused to fill a bulk order, has now decided to take a firm stand against being involved in politics, which itself feels very political. As Ai Weiwei has said, “Everything is art. Everything is politics.”
It’s no small irony that the villain in The Lego Movie was called Lord Business. The internet is buzzing with offers to donate Legos so that the art works can still be made. Looks like Lord Business may be defeated again.