Yes, Samsung and the Boston Red Sox’s biggest slugger, David Ortiz, made a major selfie blunder at the White House last week. But they haven’t ruined presidential selfies for everyone, press secretary Jay Carney assured reporters Monday.
The White House counsel wasn’t pleased to hear that the tech giant had a commercial interest in Ortiz’s now-famous selfie with President Obama.
But, “there’s no discussion of a ban” on selfies at the White House, Carney said.
On CBS News’ “Face the Nation” Sunday, White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer suggested, with a chuckle, that Ortiz’s photo might be the last selfie ever snapped with the commander-in-chief.
“Perhaps, maybe this will be the end of all selfies,” Pfeiffer said.
According to Carney, some people took the adviser’s remark – said in jest – a little too seriously.
“He was saying [that] humorously,” Carney said.
But Pfeiffer was serious about the impropriety of profiting from the president.
“Whenever someone tries to use the president’s likeness to promote a product, that is a problem,” he said. “We have had conversations with Samsung about this and expressed our concerns.”
Pfeiffer said that the president had no knowledge of Ortiz’s business relationship with Samsung, and he declined to comment on potential further action by the White House, saying only, “I will leave that to the conversation between the lawyers.”
Carney elaborated slightly, saying the administration believed the issue will be resolved and officials didn’t plan to confront Ortiz directly.
Samsung had apparently enlisted Ortiz, a Boston Red Sox designated hitter, as its new “MLB social media insider,” paying him to post to social media using his Galaxy Note 3.
When Ortiz tweeted out his presidential pic, Samsung retweeted it.
The company later told the Boston Globe it was “thrilled to see the special, historic moment David Ortiz captured with his Galaxy Note 3 during his White House visit.”
— David Ortiz (@davidortiz) April 1, 2014
— Samsung Mobile US (@SamsungMobileUS) April 1, 2014
The tweets are still live. Last week, Carney wouldn’t say whether the administration had asked the photos be taken down.
Ortiz – who was overheard saying “yeah baby, ca-ching!” after the photo was taken – insisted the selfie wasn’t a part of the endorsement deal.
“It wasn’t anything promotional, anything like that. … I mean, who knows that you’re going to take a picture with the president? How many people can guarantee that?” he told ESPN. “It just came out right in the moment when I gave him the jersey and he asked to take pictures.”
“Samsung has a lot of money and the White House has a lot of money, too,” Ortiz reportedly told the Providence Journal. “They’ll be cool with each other.”