White House Calls Foul on Big Papi’s Obama Selfie

This whole selfie thing is getting out of control and Samsung, creator of the Galaxy cell phone series, is trying to take full advantage of it.  Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz was at the White House along with his teammates on Tuesday to be recognized by President Barack Obama for winning the World Series last year.  Selfies are supposed to be spontaneous and that is what adds to their appeal. But with the now famous Oscar selfie taken by host Ellen Degeneres that included Lupita Nyong’o, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Lawrence, Julia Roberts and a host of others, we see the increased corporatization of this phenomenon.

Ortiz, aka Big Papi, took his selfie with President Barack Obama and posted it to Twitter and the picture was retweeted by Samsung, who also tweeted the type of device used to capture the image. Then it came to light that Ortiz actually has an endorsement deal with Samsung and now the White House is calling foul.  On Thursday White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters that the president’s legal team objects to Samsung’s commercial use of the photo.

“As a rule the White House objects to attempts to use the president’s likeness for commercial purposes,” Mr. Carney said. “And we certainly object in this case.”

Mr. Carney declined to say whether White House lawyers are in touch with Samsung about ceasing its use of the photo featuring Mr. Obama, but the likelihood is high considering the circumstances.  For his part, David Ortiz denies any attempt at deception or commercialization. Either way, the photo was taken, posted and retweeted worldwide. The White House is too late. Samsung already won.

Back to top