The first ever Lego figure in a wheelchair has been spotted at the Nuremberg and London toy fairs, featuring a beanie-hatted character alongside a helper dog.
The figure was captured in photos by the Promobricks blog, and shared on the Bricksfans website. The figure features alongside an ice-cream vendor, cyclist, picnickers and more, in a new park scene from the companyâ€™s City range.
The sighting is significant, given Lego has recently been accused of a lack of diversity in its figures. The #ToyLikeMe campaign, launched last year, resulted in over 20,000 signatures to a Change.org petition, which lobbied Lego to include disabled figures in its sets.
Its co-founder Rebecca Atkinson wrote in the Guardian in December: â€œThe brand continues to exclude 150 million disabled children worldwide by failing to positively represent them in its products … This is more than just about sales figures or disability access, itâ€™s about changing cultural perceptions. Itâ€™s about brands such as Lego using their vast power of influence to positive effect.â€
Lego initially resisted the call, arguing to Atkinson: â€œThe beauty of the Lego system is that children may choose how to use the pieces we offer to build their own stories.â€ But the new set seems to mark an about-turn.
The #ToyLikeMe organisers reacted joyfully, writing on their campaign page: â€œWeâ€™ve got genuine tears of joy right now … Lego have just rocked our brick-built world!â€
Lego was at the centre of another online campaign recently, which argued that the company should drop its restrictions on bulk-buying bricks after Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was blocked from ordering bricks for his work. The company previously had a policy of asking for the reasoning behind bulk orders, and preventing any overtly political use; they relented after global indignation, saying that their policy â€œcould result in misunderstandings or be perceived as inconsistentâ€.