On 1. August 2020 LEGO® plans to release its first ever military set while internal corporate value documents forbid the production of current military vehicles. The German DFG-VK also criticises the license placed on the set. With every buy, customers help to finance arms companies.
The „LEGO Technic 42113 Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey“ calls for trouble. The „V-22 Osprey“ it is modeled on is a military freight aircraft. 400 planes are currently in use by the US armed forces, in Afghanistan, Iraq, Mai and Yemen. These heavily armed aircrafs are often used in attack missions. The tilt rotor vehicles with vertical start-and-landing capabilities are produced by Boeing® and Bell®.
According to data from the „Stockholm International Peace Research Institute“ (SIPRI) Boeing®has been the second largest arms company in 2018 with global arms sales totaling 26.08 billion Euro (29.15 billion US-Dollar). According to the same data Bell® achieved rank 27 with a total of 3.18 billion Euro (3.5 billion US-Dollar) in arms sales.
„Arms companies are never an acceptable cooperation partner for any toy company“, says Michael Schulze von Glaßer, political director of DFG-VK. The organisation has published a study on the new LEGO® set and its original model. „The Danish company has subjected itself to corporate values ruling out any production of any military vehicle currently in use by armed forces globally“, Schulze von Glaßer continues. This violation of the company‘s own values is concerning. „We have contacted LEGO multiple times earlier this year, asking for comment and offering our readiness for conversation about the cooperation with these arms companies and the new set“, Schulze von Glaßer said. Especially since license fees will most probably be paid to the arms companies from each sale: „This would mean, that with every buy we as customers directly fund arms producers“, Schulze von Glaßer warns.
Starting today the German peace organisation is leveraging more pressure on LEGO®: „We have started a petition asking LEGO® for an immediate end to the cooperation with arms companies and a return to the peaceful company values“, says Michael Schulze von Glaßer. The petition as well as the study and other information can be found on the webpage: www.lovebricks-hatewar.com
„We all love bricks but LEGO has deviated to the wrong path. We hope to set them back on track with this campaign and remain open for communication“, he continues.
To start the campaign, the DFG-VK has also protested in front of the LEGO®-Flagship-Store in Berlin: An activist costumed as LEGO®-Figurine in Camoouflage dressing arimed at a colourful peace symbol made from LEGO bricks with an assault rifle to mark LEGO‘s attack on its peaceful values. Other activists held banners and posters. More actions are planned at other LEGO® stores in Hamburg (21. Juli 2020, 10am, Spitalerstraße 12) and Frankfurt am Main (22. Juli 2020, 1:30pm, Zeil 106).
LEGO® will have an unpleasant Déjà-vu: In 2014 the Danish toy company stopped cooperating with the controversial oil company Shell following intense protest by Greenpeace. The DFG-VK remains hopeful that LEGO® will accept the criticism and immediately stop the cooperation.
A summary FactSheet on the „LEGO Technic 42113 Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey“ set and its real model is available here (pdf). You can download the study „BRICKS OR BOMBS? WHICH ARMS COMPANIES LEGO® WORKS WITH – WHAT WAR TOYS LEGO® PRODUCES – HOW LEGO® BETRAYS ITS OWN PRINCIPLES“ here (pdf).
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German Peace Society – United War Resisters (Deutsche Friedensgesellschaft – Vereinigte KriegsdienstgegnerInnen, DFG-VK), Stuttgart July 19, 2020