White House objects to Samsung's use of Obama photo

WASHINGTON Thu Apr 3, 2014 3:32pm EDT

Visitors walk past the Samsung stand at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona February 24, 2014. REUTERS/Gustau Nacarino

Visitors walk past the Samsung stand at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona February 24, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Gustau Nacarino

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - It was a fun moment: Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz snapped a "selfie" photo with President Barack Obama when the World Series champions visited the White House this week.

But the smiles turned to scowls when mobile provider Samsung promoted the picture on Twitter to the company's 5.2 million followers and pointed out the image had been taken with a Samsung smartphone.

White House spokesman Jay Carney, asked whether Samsung had been asked to stop tweeting the photo, made clear the controversy had been discussed with White House lawyers.

"Without getting into counsel's discussions, I can tell you that as a rule, the White House objects to attempts to use the president's likeness for commercial purposes, and we certainly object in this case," he said.

He declined to discuss how the White House had objected.

Representatives for Samsung did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Ortiz gave Obama a special Red Sox jersey with the president's name on it at the event on Tuesday and then got Obama to pose for the smartphone "selfie."

"I gave him the jersey, and the photographers were going to take their pictures and I thought, really at the last second, maybe I should snap a shot with my phone while I have the chance," Ortiz told the Boston Globe.

"It had nothing to do with no deals," he said.

(Additional reporting by Alina Selyukh; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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Comments (2)
SilentBoy741 wrote:
When the White House publishes campaign photos and commercials showing the president shaking hands, kissing babies, or even in selfies with the hot Danish Prime Minister, promoting his presidency, basically “selling” Obama to the public, that’s OK. But when another entity uses Obama’s image to promote their product, the White House now objects to the use of his image? Double standard, anyone?

Apr 03, 2014 6:13pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Moe-Smith wrote:
Samsung is attempting to give the impression that President Obama is endorsing their product… or that The Executive branch is endorsing said product or that the Federal Government is endorsing a product for possible monetary gain…

There is no double standard or contradiction. The executive office markets itself in many ways, but not normally by endorsing commercial products. Clearly Samsung, yet again, show it’s lack of class and ethics.

Apr 04, 2014 1:34am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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