Melania Trump Billboards Forced To Be Taken Down (Photos)

Melania Trump Billboards Forced To Be Taken Down (Photos) Promo Image

Melania Trump has forced some billboards to be taken down in Croatia.

The billboards were put up on Sept. 15, reports The Washington Post. They featured the face of the first lady, with the headline: "Just imagine how far you can go with a little bit of English."

The words "a little bit of" are in italics, seeming to imply that she doesn't know much English. In addition, the picture is from her speech at the Republican Convention, where she famously plagiarized a previous speech by Michelle Obama.

The billboards were an advertisement for the American Institute, a local language school which, according to its website, has "the lofty goal of bringing the American education system closer to Croatia."

The school charges the equivalent of about $315 for an advanced English course. More expensive courses include "English for the E.U."  

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Trump, who was born in neighboring Slovenia, was chosen because she was "the most recognized emigrant to the U.S. from this region," said American Institute spokeswoman Ivis Buric.

"People can have all sorts of opinions about Melania Trump, but they cannot deny her the success she deserves and her knowledge of English," Buric told local media.

However, Trump did not give her permission to use her image, so her lawyers threatened to sue the school.

"They used Mrs. Trump's image and personality for commercial purposes without her consent, which is a breach of the advertising code and the law on obligations," White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham wrote in an email.

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On Sept. 19, the school took the billboards down.

The Croatian school's spokeswoman thought the message of their signs had been lost.

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

"It was meant to be something positive, to show her as a role model."

Even though they were up for less than a week, the billboards were "very successful," Buric said, generating coverage from both local and international media.

But the language school isn't the only business trying to cash in on the first lady, reports CNN. In her native land Slovenia, enterprisers are selling products ranging from honey to salami. A former classmate of hers has come out with a "Melanija" soap, and someone has also written a "Melanija" song.

Tourism in Slovenia has also seen a modest surge since the Trump's moved into the White House, having increased 8% from 2016 to 2017, according to the Republic of Slovenia Statistical Office.

Sources: The Washington Post, CNN / Featured Image: The White House/Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: AP via The Washington Post, Matjaz Krivic via CNN

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