By Claire Zillman
September 20, 2017

The Slovenian law firm that represents Melania Trump has forced the take-down of billboards in Croatia that used a photo of the first lady to sell its language classes.

“Just imagine how far you can go with a little bit of English,” read billboards that appeared in the capital city of Zagreb last week. They display a photo of Trump delivering a speech at last year’s Republican National Convention.

Natasa Pirc-Musar, a lawyer for Trump, reportedly demanded that the billboards be removed, and the private English school responsible for them has obliged.

Pirc-Musar told the Associated Press that the school had admitted that the advertisements violated the law and said it would take down the physical ads as well as those on Facebook. “We are still analyzing possible further legal steps,” she said.

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The billboard featuring Trump's likeness in Zagreb.
Antonio Bronic—Reuters

Ivis Buric, a spokesperson for the school, said it’d chosen to feature Trump on its advertisements because the Slovenia native is “the most recognized emigrant to the U.S. from this region.” Buric said the billboard was meant to be positive—”to show her as a role model”—and, in fact, the campaign had been “very successful.”

“We are very sorry that the billboards were misunderstood as something intended to mock the U.S. first lady,” Buric said.

Trump has fought this fight before. In fact, she hired lawyers from the firm Pirc Musar & Partnerji last year to defend against her likeness being used for commercial purposes. Items—wine, cakes, even salami—bearing the first lady’s name or likeness began popping up in her home country as her husband’s presidential campaign catapulted the former model onto the world stage.

Trump’s English has also been ridiculed in the past. Comedian and television personality Chelsea Handler, when asked by Variety in January if she’d interview the first lady, said, “To talk about what? She can barely speak English.”

While Trump speaks English with a heavy accent, it’s one of the five languages she’s reportedly fluent in. She also speaks Slovenian, German, French, and Serbo-Croat.

 

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