White House Has Stern Words For President Obama & David Ortiz' Selfie, So The Glory Days Of Presidential Selfies May Be Over
If you had a chance to take a selfie with President Obama, wouldn't you take full advantage? On Tuesday, Rex Sox baseball standout David Ortiz sure did, having just presented Obama with his own jersey during a celebration for the team's 2013 World Series win. But now, the White House has issued a stern statement condemning presidential selfies. Really.
What looked to be a spontaneous moment between Ortiz and the president turned into uproar after the photo went viral. That's because Ortiz signed an endorsement deal with Samsung just one day before the now infamous selfie was shot with — you guessed it — a Samsung phone. Plus, Samsung retweeted the photo to its five million followers.
“When we heard about the visit to the White House, we worked with David and the team on how to share images with fans," Samsung executives told the Boston Globe. "We didn’t know if or what he would be able to capture using his Note 3 device.”
Jay Carney, White House spokesman, is a huge Red Sox fan and even retweeted the selfie himself. But Thursday, Carney announced: "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."
Now White House lawyers are discussing the matter, although Carney wouldn't release any details.
Ortiz, of course, is denying having planned a promotional stunt. Who knows? Maybe it really was a spur-of-the-moment decision. "It wasn't anything promotional or anything like that," Ortiz told reporters on Wednesday, according to USA Today. "I mean, who knows that you're going to get a picture with the president, a selfie? You can't guarantee that."
But one of Ortiz's teammates did yell out "cha-ching" as the selfie was being taken, which is likely fueling the controversy.
Regardless of whether it was planned or not, it's paying off big for Samsung, as Ortiz's photo was retweeted more than 40,000 times. White House Officials told The New York Post that the president and company did not have any advance notice of the selfie, which is generally needed to guard the president's image.
This is not the first time a photo of Obama has been tangled up in a promotional campaign. In 2009, Weatherproof Garment Co. took down a billboard in China that featured the president in one of the brand's jackets and suggested the president was endorsing the brand.
Image: Twitter/@Jay Carney