That’s according to a since-deleted post on Chinese social network Weibo, which claimed that the set has been removed from store shelves and online platforms ‘due to sensitive topics’ (as translated by Google). A screenshot of the original post (featured below) was sent to Brick Fanatics by Instagram user persiealbum.
The story is also currently doing the rounds on reddit, where it has roughly 350 upvotes in r/China. According to comments on that post, counterfeit versions of the set are already available on Chinese online shopping platform Taobao, named (for example) ‘Everyone is Excellent’ and ‘Everyone is Unique’.
All listings for the original set have apparently been removed, meanwhile, following an initial price increase when word of the clampdown on sales first emerged. 40516 Everyone is Awesome is the LEGO Group’s first prominently LGBTQIA+ set, sporting the colours of the Progress Pride Flag. Each of its 11 stripes represents a different quality or community within the LGBTQIA+ spectrum.
LGBTQIA+ people currently face widespread discrimination in China, while same-sex couples are banned from marrying or adopting. And if 40516 Everyone is Awesome has indeed been removed from sale, it would only be the latest in a string of recent anti-LGBT practices from the Chinese government.
Earlier this month, the country’s media regulator called for a boycott of ‘sissy idols’ as part of a plan that involves ‘further regulation of arts and entertainment shows and related personnel’. According to Al Jazeera, social media platform WeChat has also suspended the accounts of several university LGBT groups, in what one source described as a ‘dark day’ for the community.
Outside China, 40516 Everyone is Awesome – which was designed by the LEGO Group’s Vice President of Design Matthew Ashton, who has explained what the set means to him – may be seeing a wider launch beyond LEGO Stores and LEGO.com in 2022.