Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) is not a fan of “The Lego Movie.” He does not think it is awesome.
The Wisconsin senator said Wednesday that the film intentionally uses an evil entrepreneur as its main villain in order to spread anti-business propaganda, according to WisPolitics.com. The remarks, made during an appearance at the Milwaukee Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, were part of a broader comment on what he says is an anti-business bias in American culture.
"That's done for a reason," he said. "They're starting that propaganda, and it's insidious."
Johnson’s comments, of course, actually represent a longstanding anti-Lego Movie sentiment that persists among some conservatives. Consider, for example, the Fox Business segment below that accuses Hollywood of having an anti-capitalist agenda. Or this Wall Street Journal op-ed, which Johnson himself referenced.
If you’re not familiar with the movie, The Post's Alyssa Rosenberg summarized the movie's plot, tone and central moral dilemma here:
In ‘The Lego Movie,’ Emmet is an even more unworthy vessel, an unthinking worshipper at the consumerist temples that President Business (Will Ferrell) has erected to distract his citizens from Business’ evil plan to freeze them into a state of perfection. ‘Trust your instincts,’ the wizard Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) tells Emmet, encouraging him to try to use creativity to escape Business’ henchmen. ‘Unless your instincts are terrible,’ Vitruvius acknowledges a moment later, recognizing Emmet’s utter lack of imagination.
Johnson responded late Thursday afternoon to an article in The Huffington Post which criticized his comments. In a written statement posted on his website, Johnson says the writer "can’t seem to figure out why I or anyone else would say this about 'The Lego Movie.'"
"[T]he point that 'The Lego Movie' was an especially grievous slam on business was made by others," Johnson wrote. "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, a businessman himself, faces a tough 2016 reelection campaign in Wisconsin. He will potentially face former Wisconsin senator Russ Feingold, whom he defeated in 2010, in a marquee rematch election.