‘Offensive’ Lego set angers disability group

The group argues that the inclusion of an old man in a wheelchair in a new Lego toy set creates the misleading impression that disability that only affects the elderly.

'Offensive' Lego set angers disability group
Photo: Lego Group

A campaign group for parents of disabled children is upset with Danish toy maker Lego’s release of a new Duplo set, which they feel provides a superficial depiction of disability.

The company recently released a new Community People set comprised of 20 different figures, including an old man in a wheelchair being pushed by a young person.

The purpose of the set is to help children develop an understanding about different people and professions.

According to Toy Like Me, a group for parents of disabled children campaigning for better representation of disabled children in toys, the decision to put an old man in the wheelchair, rather than, for instance, a child, could lead some children to wrongly believe that only the elderly can be disabled.

See also: Lego looking for alternatives to plastic

Rebeca Atkinson, co-founder of Toy Like Me, said that the group also generally disapproved of the way the figure is depicted.

“Whilst we applaud Lego for including a wheelchair user, we are disappointed with the design of the wheelchair which is grey and medical in appearance and does not appear to have wheels that turn, as well as the choice of the elderly figure to use the chair in promotional images,” Atkinson wrote in her blog.

“If this Grandpa figure was one of many, (and) stood aside a range of other vibrant characters with disabilities varying in age, then there would not be an issue,” she added.

Atkinson also argued that companies such as Lego have the power make a significant impact in the depiction of disability.

“We know Lego is a creative power house. A place where the greatest playful minds create Wonka-esque building fun. We know they could conjure up the most amazing positive disability representation if they just left the stereotypes behind” she wrote.

Toy Like Me has launched a campaign on in order to further representation of disabled children in the toy market, which they say is severely lacking. They argue that a more accurate and positive depiction of disabled children in toys would help children grow up “with a better attitude to human difference.”

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Denmark’s toy giant Lego offers staff bonus after bumper year

Danish toymaker Lego, the world's largest toymaker, Denmark's Lego, said on Tuesday it will offer its 20,000 employees three extra days of holiday and a special bonus after a year of bumper revenues.

Lego is rewarding staff with a Christmas bonus and extra holiday after a strong 2022.
Lego is rewarding staff with a Christmas bonus and extra holiday after a strong 2022. File photo: Ida Guldbæk Arentsen/Ritzau Scanpix

Already popular globally, Lego has seen demand for its signature plastic bricks soar during the pandemic alongside its rapid expansion in China.

“The owner family wishes to… thank all colleagues with an extra three days off at the end of 2021,” the company said in a statement.

The unlisted family group reported a net profit of more than 6.3 billion Danish kroner (847 million euros) for the first half of 2021.

Revenues shot up 46 percent to 23 billion kroner in the same period.

It had been “an extraordinary year for the Lego Group and our colleagues have worked incredibly hard,” said the statement, which added that an unspecified special bonus would be paid to staff in April 2022.

Lego, a contraction of the Danish for “play well” (leg godt), was founded in 1932 by Kirk Kristiansen, whose family still controls the group which employs about 20,400 people in 40 countries.

READ ALSO: Lego profits tower to new heights as stores reopen