Countless kids across America grow up playing with Lego toys.
But Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said Wednesday he sees something sinister in “The Lego Movie,” which debuted last year and was based on the popular multi-colored building blocks and yellow figurines.
He accused “The Lego Movie” of being “insidious” propaganda that teaches children that “government is good and business if bad.”
Johnson, who has cultivated an image of being a successful businessman, made his comments during an interview with the political blog WisPolitics.
He said the movie reflected a broader “cultural attitude” and that the choice to make the bad guy a businessman trying to destroy the world for money was made “for a reason.”
“They’re starting that propaganda, and it’s insidious,” Johnson told the blog.
It wasn’t the first time Johnson has warned of the dangers of children’s movies. Earlier this month, Johnson said that because movies are the conduits of these messages, the “propaganda starts very early.”
Watch video of his comments below, from Youtube Wisconsin:
Johnson defended his position on Thursday after the Huffington Post published an article about his comments on “The Lego Movie.”
In a post on his Senate website, Johnson cited examples of others who saw “The Lego Movie” for what he believes it was.
“I read a great piece in the Wall Street Journal in which an entrepreneur pointed out that the plot revolved around ‘the evil exploits of its villain, President Business,’” Johnson said.
He went on to cite passages from the March article in which the writer, Doug Haugh, president of the Mansfield Oil company, said the Lego film had taught his children to view him “not as the leader I’m supposed to be, but as a movie-villain incarnate.”
Johnson said he agreed with Haugh that businesses have largely made America “the richest nation in the history of the world.”
Johnson also had this message for the author of the Huffington Post article, Ryan Grim:
“The strange thing isn’t that a kids’ movie was anti-business, it is that someone claiming to be a journalist never encountered the idea before,” Johnson wrote, linking to another Wall Street Journal article that said Hollywood was painting big business as the “villain.”
Johnson’s comments on the “corrosive” Lego movie mirrored those made last year by Fox News host Charles Payne, who accused Hollywood of “pushing it’s anti-business message to our kids.”
“First it was ‘The Muppets Movie,’ remember they used an oil baron as the enemy,” Payne said. “A year later it was ‘The Lorax,’ casting environmentalists against anyone who dared to create a new business in. Well, now it’s ‘The Lego Movie’ with a villain named ‘President Business.’”
“Hollywood has it’s own agenda and we’re kind of used to this but it feels a little bit more threatening when they start to push this out to our kids over and over,” Payne said.
“I guess they believe this movie is gonna make a lot of money, so no matter what they can embed these kinds of anti-capitalist messages and get away with it,” conservative commentator Monica Crowley said in the segment with Payne.
Watch the video below, via Media Matters: