David Ortiz of the Red Sox recently snapped a selfie with President Barack Obama. The initial moment seemed spontaneous enough, however judging from the quick retweets and follow-up statements from Samsung — it seems this may not have been nearly as spontaneous as originally thought. Basically, there appear to be some similarities to the selfie Ellen DeGeneres took with other celebrities during the Oscars. Something reminiscent of a staged event.
Ortiz shared the image on Twitter after he took it, thanking the President for the selfie, and noting how it was an honor. Samsung then jumped in with mention about how they were “thrilled to see the special, historic moment David Ortiz captured with his Galaxy Note 3 during his White House visit.” Samsung also touched on how “it was an honor to help him” capture that moment.
Those statements by themselves could be interpreted as Samsung just getting lucky that Ortiz happened to be carrying a Galaxy Note 3. But there is more going on here. Ortiz recently signed a deal with Samsung. This is where the White House seems to be taking issue with the image. White House press secretary Jay Carney said they object to the commercial use of the image.
Carney mentioned the White House rule about using the president likeness for commercial purposes. Ortiz did later say the selfie was not part of any deal. Samsung also chimed in with a comment about how they “worked with David and the team on how to share images with fans” but that they “didn’t know what if or what he would be able to capture using his Note 3.”
Bottom line here, it looks like Samsung has found themselves in the middle of another controversy — which strangely, again centers around a selfie.