How Melania Trump forced a Croatia language school to remove its billboards

US First Lady Melania Trump threatened to sue a language school in Croatia after it used her image in their marketing. The billboards appeared to poke fun at Trump, a native of Slovenia, and her heavily accented English.

By: | Updated: September 20, 2017 11:12:17 am
melania trump, croatia billboard trump, melania trump english, zagreb billboard melania trump A worker carrying a ladder walks past a billboard depicting the first lady Melania Trump and advertising a language school displayed in Zagreb, Croatia, Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

An English language school in the Croatian capital, Zagreb, was forced to pull its advertising billboards after US First Lady Melania Trump threatened to sue over the use of her image and, quite possibly, for ridiculing her heavy accent.

The billboards featured a picture of Trump alongside the slogan, “Just imagine how far you can go with a little bit of English.”

Ivis Buric, a spokeswoman for the school, American Institute, has apologized. She said the billboards were “misunderstood as something intended to mock the US first lady,” and said they were intended “to show her as a role model.”

Nevertheless, Buric admitted the campaign had proven to be “very successful” because of the wide local and international publicity it had received.

Protecting her image

The first lady has hired a law firm tasked with protecting her image in her native Slovenia, where her face has been used without permission to market items including cakes and ice cream, underwear and even holiday packages.

“I’m satisfied with the fact that the school admitted that they violated the law and that they are ready to remove the billboards and [Facebook] ads,” said Trump’s lawyer, Natasa Pirc-Musar. “We are still analyzing possible further legal steps.”

advertising, melania trump, english language Cars drive past the empty advertising space from which a billboard depicting the first lady Melania Trump was removed, in Zagreb, Croatia, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. Billboards featuring Melania Trump and the slogan “just imagine how far you can go with a little bit of English” were removed Tuesday from the Croatian capital after her lawyer threatened a lawsuit. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

Melania Trump was born in neighboring Slovenia, then part of Yugoslavia, as Melanija Knavs, but left in her 20s to pursue an international modelling career. She met Donald Trump, then a real estate developer and self-proclaimed billionaire, at a New York Fashion Week party in 1998.

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