White candidate facing blowback after using Michelle Obama clip in campaign ad
Michelle Obama (Photo by Saul Loeb for AFP)

A wealthy grocery chain tycoon looking to be Philadelphia's next mayor is facing major blowback for using a clip of Michelle Obama talking about him that implies she is endorsing him even though she has done no such thing.

Jeff Brown, a white candidate who is notable in the region for his ShopRite grocery stores many of which are located in predominately Black neighborhoods, is one of a bevy of Democratic candidates in the race but has hit a bump in the road with the Obama commercial.

As the Daily Beast's Ernest Owens wrote, aides to the influential former first lady have complained about the inclusion of the former first lady in the ads, pointing out she never endorses any candidates in primaries.

According to the report, in the ad Obama can be seen saying, "I think Jeff Brown put it best when he said we’re not gonna be on the sidelines. We’re gonna be right with our communities.”

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"The 30-second ad, which ran on diverse cable television networks (such as BET and VH1) across Philly, also featured a photo of Brown with former President Barack Obama as it boasted how the wealthy grocer was addressing food deserts in his city. At surface level, one could assume that with so much of the Obama family’s presence in the ad, both camps must have agreed on some aspect of it," Owens wrote before pointing out that Brown's people admitted they have heard from the former first lady's camp and that they are not pleased.

According to the report, the ad has not run since the Martin Luther King holiday weekend, and a spokesperson for the Brown campaign offered up a defense for using the clip before checking with Michelle Obama's people.

"The Jeff Brown ad featuring former First Lady Michelle Obama included content that was publicly available and in the public domain,”a spokesperson told the Beast. “It included comments that former First Lady Obama made about Jeff Brown’s work on developing solutions to the national food desert crisis. The ad producers did not reach out because the comments were in the public domain.”

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