A controversial sticker in a Lego licensed sticker set has caused the brand to come under fire recently.
Journalist Josh Stearns posted an image of the sticker on his Tumblr, saying he was ‘stunned’. The sticker in question features a Lego construction worker with the caption “Hey babe!”
Adweek describes the Lego figure as leering and waving.
Stearns wrote, “My son is just getting into Legos, so I thought he’d love these stickers. Then I took a closer look and saw that one of the construction workers (the only one wearing ‘cool’ sunglasses) was labeled “Hey Babe!””
He went on to say, “The Hollaback website notes that street harassment is the most prevalent form of sexual violence for both men and women in the United States. Internationally, they point out, “studies show that between 70-99% of women experience street harassment at some point during their lives.””
The initial response from Lego came from Charlotte Simonsen, Senior Director at LEGO’s corporate communications office in Denmark, who explained that the stickers were a licensed product produced by Creative Imagination, which went out of business in December of 2012. She said Stearns’ feedback had been forwarded to the Lego licensing team and wrote, “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.”
Stearns wrote back to Simonsen asking a series of follow-up questions about LEGO’s licensing guidelines and how a product like this could make it through their review process.
Later, Lego got back to Stearns with a note from Andrea Ryder, the head of the LEGO Group’s Outbound Licensing Department. Ryder wrote, “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.”