Why President Barack Obama poses for selfies as often as a teenage girl, we may never understand, but we now know that he objects to corporations sponsoring his up-close and off-kilter snapshots.
Last Tuesday, the White House hosted the Boston Red Sox to celebrate the team’s World Series victory, with Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz tasked with presenting an honorary jersey to the president. After posing for photographers with the president, Ortiz reached into his pocket and asked, “Do you mind if I take another one, with my own?”
“He wants to do a selfie. It’s the Big Papi selfie,” Obama said before placing himself within selfie range.
The selfie went out to Ortiz’s 638,000 followers.
— David Ortiz (@davidortiz) April 1, 2014
Samsung quickly shared the photo with its five million followers.
— Samsung Mobile US (@SamsungMobileUS) April 1, 2014
The White House was not happy.
“Without getting into council’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,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.
In an interview with ESPN, Ortiz, who admitted to having a promotional deal with Samsung, insisted that the selfie was more about capturing a rare moment rather than fulfilling promotional obligations. “It just came right in the moment when I gave him the jersey and he asked to pictures … It was like, ‘Oh, wait a minute, let me see if I can get away with this.’ I was lucky that I was right there. It was fun. It was something I’ll never forget,” he said.
So far, there have been no requests to take down the tweets. According to CBS News, the White House doesn’t want to appear “heavy handed.”