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Plugged In

LEGO apologizes for ‘street harassment’ sticker

Plugged In

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(Credit: Josh Stearns)

Most of us think of LEGO as one of the family-friendliest companies on the planet, but one eagle-eyed dad spied a not-so-friendly product in the company’s catalog.

As reported on The Consumerist, the saga began when journalist Josh Stearns noticed a curious set of LEGO construction worker stickers while shopping for his son. The problem? That would be the creepy, catcalling construction worker labeled “Hey Babe!”

Stearns was rightfully outraged, as street harassment is a serious problem and certainly not the kind of issue you’d expect to be addressed in your kid’s LEGO toy box. Other sites picked up on the offending sticker as well (Amazon’s LEGO sticker product page has some terrific tongue-in-cheek reviews), eventually warranting an unsatisfying corporate response from the Denmark company itself.

“To communicate the LEGO experience to children we typically use humor and we are sorry that you were unhappy with the way a minifigure was portrayed here,” it read.

LEGO also pointed out that the stickers were produced via a partnership with another company and were discontinued in 2010, adding that the orignal manufacturer went out of business in 2012. In other words, they couldn’t pull the offending stickers off the market.

But after another series of emails from Stearns, LEGO’s Outgoing Licensing head Andrea Ryder finally took responsibility for the sticker.

“I am truly sorry that you had a negative experience with one of our products…the product is no longer available and we would not approve such a product again.”

It’s just the latest LEGO controversy involving gender stereotypes. Last year the company made waves with its girl-targeted ‘LEGO Friends’ line, which some accused of reinforcing sexual stereotypes with its pink blocks and girly themes. It was a big sales hit, however, and wound up so divisive that it managed to simultaneously earn nominations as both the Worst Toy of the Year and the Best Toy of the Year. Remember when they were just fun little bricks?

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