Lego alters bulk buy rule after Ai Weiwei backlash

The Lego Group is changing how it handles bulk orders, following a backlash against the group on social media last year.

In October 2015, Lego was accused of "censorship" by contemporary artist and activist, Ai Weiwei, after the toymaker refused to supply him with bricks, needed for his upcoming exhibition on political dissidents.

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei
Carl Court | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Chinese artist Ai Weiwei

Following the news, Lego received criticism online, and Lego-owning fans started up an online global initiative to donate bricks to Ai for his exhibition in Melbourne, Australia.

At the time, Lego denied that it censored or prohibited the creative use of its bricks. It would refuse bulk order requests however, if the bricks were to be used "in projects or contexts of a political agenda."

The row echoes an incident that took place in the 1990s, when a Polish artist created a faux concentration camp toy set made of Lego, prompting the toymaker to ask for it to be removed from public view.

When customers now make bulk order purchases however, Lego will not ask customers on what they are using the bricks for, the Danish toymaker announced late Tuesday. Lego did not refer directly to Ai's order in its announcement.

As of the start of 2016, the group will no longer inquire about the "thematic purpose", but rather ask customers to make it clear that Lego doesn't endorse or support particular projects, if their toy products are used publicly, including exhibitions.

While Ai mostly retweeted fans' joy following the announcement, he did appear to comment on one Twitter post, saying "nice move #freedomofexpression".

Ai also posted pictures on Instagram, including one with a boy attaching bricks onto the artist's face and hair, captioned with a smiling emoji symbol.