Image: AFP/Thomas Samson

LEGO has ordered stores and retailers to pull out digital advertising for police-themed toy sets and pledged $4 million to organizations fighting racism.

The toy giant’s move comes as protests erupt across the United States and other countries over the killing 46-year-old black man George Floyd at the hands of Minnesota police.

“We stand with the black community against racism and inequality. There is much to do,” LEGO said on its official Twitter account yesterday, June 4.

“We will donate $4 million to organizations dedicated to supporting black children and educating all children about racial equality,” it added.

LEGO’s decision to suspend marketing of some sets was, meanwhile, shared online by several retailers and sellers. For one, Michael Clark, executive director of the Red Fish Robotics Foundation, took to Twitter to share an email containing the order.

“Got an email earlier from  @Rakuten telling us to remove any ad links for @LEGO_Group products including a police theme. The products are still for sale, they just don’t want them advertised. Challenging times,” he said on Twitter last Wednesday, June 3.

LEGO has since confirmed the news, but clarified that it is only pulling out online advertisements for some products and that these can still be sold.

“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,” LEGO said on Twitter yesterday, June 4.

“Our intention was to temporarily pause digital advertising in response to events in the US. We hope this clears things up,” it added.

Some of the products affected by the order are Police Station, Police Dog Unit, City Police Vest, Police Handcuffs & Badge, Fire Plane, Fire Station and the Sky Police Air Base.

Other big brands such as Netflix, Disney and Nike have, meanwhile, shown their support for the Black Lives Matter movement and condemned racial injustice following Floyd’s death.

The numerous protests that erupted throughout the US have often led to looting, vandalism and skirmishes between police and protesters.  /ra

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