White House rebukes Samsung for use of Obama photo

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WASHINGTON – 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 this week.

But the smiles turned scowls when mobile provider Samsung promoted the picture on 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 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 attempts to use the president’s likeness for commercial purposes, and we certainly object in this case,” he said.

He declined discuss how the White House had objected.

Representatives for Samsung did not immediately respond 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 pose for the smartphone “selfie.”

“I gave him the jersey, and the photographers were going 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 do with no deals,” he said. (Reuters)