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LEGO Reverses Its Policy on Bulk Orders After Ai Weiwei Controversy

As of January 1, 2016, the LEGO Group will no longer ask customers purchasing large quantities of their bright building blocks for the purpose of their order.

The change in the company’s policy is likely in response to the public outcry last fall when the LEGO group refused to approve a bulk order for thousands of bricks by the renowned contemporary artist Ai Weiwei.

The artist intended to use the blocks in a new work for Melbourne’s National Gallery Victoria. The toy company’s decision not to sell led to protest across media platforms, which turned into a debate about freedom of speech. The backlash resulted in people donating their LEGOs to Ai from all over the world.

According to The Guardian, in 2014, Ai created 175 LEGO portraits of people jailed or exiled for their political activism. Some of his LEGO likenesses included Nelson Mandela and Edward Snowden.

If one attempted to purchase in bulk today, a customer service message from LEGO now reads:

“If you want to place an order for a large quantity of bricks, we won’t ask what you’re planning to build; we’ll simply ask you make it clear the work isn’t supported or endorsed by us if it’s for public display.”