White House officials might prevent the public from taking “selfies” with President Obama, a senior official said Sunday.
The Boston Red Sox visited the White House last week as the 2013 World Series champions amid the start of this year’s baseball season at fields across the country. Sox slugger David Ortiz snapped a photograph with the president on his Samsung cell phone and posted the image to Twitter.
But it was soon revealed Ortiz, who previously signed an endorsement deal with the telephone service provider, might have taken the picture as a marketing promotion for the company. The Twitter account for Samsung Mobile U.S. retweeted the image soon after Ortiz posted it to the social media website. The athlete, however, said it was a spontaneous action rather than a predetermined plan.
Officials said the president wasn’t aware of Samsung’s supposed connection to the selfie.
“Whenever someone tries to use the president’s likeness to promote a product, that’s a problem with the White House,” Dan Pfeiffer, White House senior adviser, said Sunday on CBS News’ Face the Nation.
When host Bob Schieffer asked Pfeiffer if the White House would take legal action against Samsung, Pfeiffer said officials have expressed concern with the company.“We have a standing approach to issues like this when the president’s image is used for commercial purposes,” Press Secretary Jay Carney clarified during a White House briefing on Monday. “We believe this issue will be resolved, and we’ve taken the same approach on this matter as we have when we’ve had similar incidents or cases when the president’s image has been used for commercial purposes.”
Representatives from Samsung said they were “thrilled” to see Ortiz’s special, historic moment with the president.
“When we heard about the visit to the White House, we worked with David and the team on how to share images with fans. We didn’t know if or what he would be able to capture using his Note 3 device,” the company told the Boston Globe in a statement.
A photographer captured Obama last December taking a selfie with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt during the memorial for the former and late South African President Nelson Mandela.
A dozen celebrities broke the selfie retweet record at the Oscars last month after host Ellen DeGeneres snapped a group photograph. Other stars and politicians have since copied DeGeneres’ model. Pope Francis even posed for a selfie with visitors at the Vatican last August.
Only one-third of the oldest generation – the “Silents” – said they understand the meaning of a selfie, according to a recent survey released by the Pew Research Center. The Oxford Dictionaries adopted the term last year.
“Maybe,” Pfeiffer said, “this will be the end of all selfies.”
But there isn’t discussion occurring about a “ban” on selfies, Carney said.
“He was saying I think,” Carney added, “humorously, the end of all selfies, and I don’t think he meant just the White House.”