LEGO City Police Brick Box | Source: The LEGO Group

LEGO City Police Brick Box | Source: The LEGO Group
LEGO City Police Brick Box | Source: The LEGO Group

Originally published on June 2, 2020. Updated with clarification statement from LEGO June 3, 3:45 p.m. Last updated June 4, 12:13 p.m.

The tragic death of George Floyd while being restrained by police in Minneapolis sparked major protests all over the country, and today we’re seeing the first impact in the toy department.

The Toy Book has received a copy of an email sent to affiliate marketers by Rakuten Linkshare on behalf of the LEGO Group. The email requests removal of product listings and features for more than 30 LEGO building sets, Minifigures, and accessories that include representation of police officers, firefighters, criminals, emergency vehicles, and buildings. Sets include the LEGO City Police Station, Fire Station, Police Dog Unit, Patrol Car, Fire Plane, Mobile Command Center, Police Highway Arrest, and many more. Even the LEGO City Donut Shop Opening set — which includes Police Officer “Duke DeTain” and “Crook” Minifigures — roleplay items including a Police Handcuffs & Badge Set, and the adult builder LEGO Creator version of The White House made the removal list.

At press time these sets are still showing up on the LEGO website and many are still in stock and for sale. We have reached out to the LEGO Group for comment and will update this story accordingly.

UPDATE: A spokesperson for the LEGO Group responded to our request for comment with the following statement:

“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. We regret any misunderstanding and will ensure that we are clearer about our intentions in the future.”

LEGO Product Removals
LEGO Product Removals | Source: The Toy Book

Confusion Among Affiliates, LEGO Fans

Throughout the day numerous LEGO-related fansites received the email prompting confused social chatter as to what sort of statement was being made and who called for the email to be sent out. Several recipients of the email took to twitter with questions about the unclear messaging.

LEGO Pledges Support to the Black Community

LEGO published a message on its social platforms at 12:24 p.m. ET on June 3. LEGO says that it “will donate $4 million to organizations dedicated to supporting black children and educating all children about racial equality.”

Looting at the LEGO Store in NYC

The LEGO Store on Fifth Ave. in the Flatiron District of New York City was looted on June 1 alongside many other businesses as rioters put a damper on the peaceful protests taking place elsewhere in the city and around the world. Photographs of the destruction have since surfaced on Instagram showing that the popular store was stripped back to the bare shelves and a few permanent display pieces. A video published to Facebook by Beyond the Brick shows the aftermath and board-up process taking place.

Looking Ahead

The LEGO City theme has traditionally been one of LEGO’s bestselling categories, and it’s long-been anchored by law enforcement. Additionally, police have been at the center of LEGO storytelling beyond toys and across games and animation for years.

There are no plans to discontinue these sets or to pull any product from shelves despite affiliates being asked not to actively market them. The company took to social networks to post an additional statement of clarification for consumers.

About the author

James Zahn

James Zahn

James Zahn, AKA The Rock Father, is Editor-in-Chief of The Toy Book, a Senior Editor at The Toy Insider and The Pop Insider, and Editor of The Toy Report, The Toy Book‘s weekly industry newsletter. As a pop culture and toy industry expert, Zahn has appeared as a panelist and guest at events including Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) Wizard World Chicago, and the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy. Zahn has more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment, retail, and publishing industries, and is frequently called upon to offer expert commentary for publications such as Forbes, Marketwatch, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, Reuters, the Washington Post, and more. James has appeared on History Channel’s Modern Marvels, was interviewed by Larry King and Anderson Cooper, and has been seen on Yahoo! Finance, CNN, CNBC, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, CBS, WGN, The CW, and more. Zahn joined the Adventure Media & Events family in 2016, initially serving as a member of the Parent Advisory Board after penning articles for the Netflix Stream Team, Fandango Family, PBS KIDS, Sprout Parents (now Universal Kids), PopSugar, and Chicago Parent. He eventually joined the company full time as a Senior Editor and moved up the ranks to Deputy Editor and Editor-in-Chief.