From NRO's The Corner:
A few days ago I posted a bleg asking for ways to reach out to Lego Systems, Inc. to see if they would donate Lego sets to wounded warriors at Walter Reed who use the sets for therapy. Quick response from Lego — forget it. Now we learn that Lego has awarded $5000.00 to eight year old Kelsie Kimberlin, as part of their first annual Creativity Awards. Her entry — a 5 minute anti-Bush video set to an altered John Lennon tune ("Happy Springtime/Bush is Over").
Problem: the video was actually produced by her father, Brett, who runs Justice Through Music, a civic engagement nonprofit. Brett is also noteworthy for being a convicted bomber (aka terrorist), and for having claimed to have sold pot to Dan Quayle in 1988. Just the kind of person you want associated with your child's favorite toy. Some free advice to Lego — want to fix this PR nightmare? Do the right thing and help the wounded warriors already.
I hate to quote someone's post in entirety, but there's no succincter way to put it than how James Robbins did. There is some question as to whether Brett Kimberlin's claims to have sold marijuana to Dan Quayle were true or just an attempt by Kimberlin to harm Dan Quayle's political career. And just how much do we want to reward someone who put a bomb in a high school parking lot? Of course, Lego is too cowardly to outright admit that they hate our president and our soldiers - they couch their anti-USA sentiment thusly:
Kelsie encourages other kids to sing about peace and her choir sang a re-make of John Lennon's song, 'Happy Xmas, War is Over.' The video of 'Happy Springtime' has been viewed on YouTube almost 50,000 times and the song has played on MySpace almost 200,000 times.
They're too cowardly to even mention the full title in their press release. Frankly, after having skimmed through the video, I don't see any indication that a child had much of anything to do with the production of it. It looks to me like the entire video is a vehicle for giving the Speedway Bomber recognition and money.
(h/t Discarded Lies)
Update Nov 12: Lego sent me an email claiming they had no idea of the content of the video. Apparently they decided that they were going to judge the essays as a standalone effort, and "made the decision to not regard, consider or otherwise evaluate any ancillary materials, including pictures, collages, paintings, songs or online videos". Whether this decision was made prior to someone at Lego seeing the video is unclear, but they claim they had no knowledge of the video.
Leave it to someone on the left, and a terrorist to boot, to exploit their child and deceive or collaborate, depending on how involved you believe Lego is, for personal gain and to push a message on to a toy company that now claims they take no political positions.
Full text of the two emails below. I forwarded the first one to James Robbins, but did not receive a reply, although he posted the text of the email on NRO. I'm still waiting to hear if Lego has provided kits for therapy for the soldiers at Walter Reed. (Which is NOT a political move, leftwing moonbats - keep in mind that claiming you support the troops but oppose the war actually means supporting the troops, whether you agree with their ideology or how they ended up in Walter Reed.)
Thank you for your interest in LEGO® brand toys. We are always delighted to hear from a loyal LEGO enthusiast.
A blogger at the National Review incorrectly wrote that LEGO Systems had denied a donation request from Walter Reed Hospital to support troops and their families. The company’s community relations department responded favorably to the request via voicemail, and details have yet to be finalized on that donation request; however, it was not denied. In fact, the company has historically contributed to several organizations that support the families of men and women who serve the country, and continues to do so. For many years, LEGO Systems has taken great pride in making contributions to such programs as the United States Marine Corp’s Toys for Tots program and Operation Gratitude, which sends care packages to U.S Troops.
LEGO Systems does not endorse one political perspective over another. In its November 8, 2007 issue, The Washington Post ran a story implicating LEGO Systems’ recognition of an 8-year old girl’s creativity through an essay contest as endorsement of a political agenda.
LEGO Systems sponsored a contest to identify and honor 10 children’s creativity. One of the winning entries told of a girl’s endeavors to “sing for peace” by rallying her choral group to sing a peace song. She indicated she would use the money to “spread the word of peace and music and get more kids involved in saving the planet,” which the company finds compelling and commendable. Because the contest was essay-based, LEGO Systems did not regard, consider or otherwise evaluate any ancillary materials, including pictures, collages, paintings and online videos, and as such, was not aware of the specific content of the song.
While LEGO Systems does not ever endorse any extreme messages, it does always endeavor to encourage creativity among children. The intent of the contest was to highlight and celebrate children’s creativity, and LEGO Systems regrets any confusion the Washington Post article causes.
Alice, thank you again for contacting us. We wish your family many happy hours of creative building with LEGO brand toys in the years to come.
Thank you for your follow up email.
The girl mentioned in her entry that her song was shared on MySpace and YouTube, which supports her claim that the prize money would be used to “spread the word of peace and music and get more kids involved in saving the planet.” As previously mentioned, because the contest was essay-based, LEGO Systems made the decision to not regard, consider or otherwise evaluate any ancillary materials, including pictures, collages, paintings, songs or online videos, and as such, we were not aware of the specific content of the song or the video. That decision, intended to promote equity among all entrants, some of whom had not submitted ancillary materials, is being re-evaluated for future programs.
As a toy company, LEGO Systems does not take political positions. We are disappointed and deeply regret that our good intentions of rewarding children’s creativity has been used by others for political purpose. This certainly was not the intention of the contest, nor should this situation be perceived as a corporate position on politics. LEGO Systems does not endorse any political or extreme messages. It does always endeavor to encourage creativity among children. The intent of the contest was to highlight and celebrate children’s creativity, and LEGO Systems regrets any confusion or unintended sentiment that this situation causes.
Please do not hesitate to contact us again if we can be of additional assistance to you.