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White House objects as Samsung uses Obama’s ‘selfie’ as promotional tool

By Reuters
Thursday, April 3, 2014 17:21 EDT
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President Barack Obama speaks at the Ford Kansas City Stamping Plant (AFP)
 
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By Steve Holland

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)

[Image via Agence France-Presse]

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