Lego says it will no longer run toy giveaways with the Daily Mail newspaper after a social media campaign urged big companies to sever ties with publications that promote “hate, demonisation and division”.
The maker of the multicoloured building bricks, which has previously run free giveaways with the Mail, said it had “finished” its agreement with the tabloid. However, a Daily Mail spokesperson later said Lego’s announcement only related to promotions and not advertising.
Lego tweeted: “We have finished the agreement with the Daily Mail and are not planning any future promotional activity with the newspaper.”
We have finished the agreement with The Daily Mail and are not planning any future promotional activity with the newspaper
— LEGO (@LEGO_Group) November 12, 2016
Stop Funding Hate launched a social media campaign in August urging companies to drop adverts with the UK’s Daily Mail, Daily Express, and The Sun because of xenophobic headlines and “hateful” stories about child refugees.
Last month, all three publications courted controversy by plastering their front pages with images of unaccompanied minors arriving in the UK from the Calais jungle camp. The stories were accompanied with headlines and captions questioning whether the minors were “really children?”
Roar Rude Trangbaek, Lego’s spokesman, said on Saturday the company had “no plans to make additional marketing activities with the newspaper.
“We spend a lot of time listening to what children tell us. And when parents and grandparents take the time to tell us what they think, we listen.”
Rosie Ellum, a co-founder of the Stop Funding Hate campaign, told Al Jazeera she welcomed the Danish toy manufacturer’s decision.
“The Daily Mail, the Express and The Sun are all proven to have used language that is extreme and hateful, especially in reference to several groups of people, including refugees, women and LGBTQ people. We believe that people should be able to live safely and not be at risk of hate crime, and if you have freedom of the press you should also have consumer freedom,” Ellum said.
“That’s why it’s great that Lego listens to its customers. Customers have the right to tell companies how they feel and Lego’s response has been very positive.”
Lego’s decision comes less than a week after a letter calling on the toy manufacturer to sever ties with the Daily Mail went viral.
Bob Jones, father of a six-year-old son, criticised Lego’s links with the Mail as “wrong” and said the newspaper had “gone too far” with its reporting.
“Lego, to me, has always been an inclusive product. Breaking barriers between gender, building children’s imagination and confidence to do their own thing. Something adults and children can and do bond over,” Jones wrote in a public letter.
“Your links to the Daily Mail are wrong. And a company like yours shouldn’t be supporting them.”
Former England footballer Gary Lineker also showed support for the campaign on Saturday, saying he had spoken to Walkers crisps about their advertisements in The Sun newspaper.