Melania Trump sues English language school over billboard

  • 20/09/2017
The billboard was advertising English language courses.
The billboard was advertising English language courses. Photo credit: AAP

An English language school in Croatia has found itself in in legal trouble after using a photo of US First Lady Melania Trump to promote its courses.

A billboard for The American Institute in Zagreb featured Ms Trump in front of a US flag with the caption: "Just imagine how far you can go with a little bit of English".

The billboard presumably used Ms Trump as a poster girl as English is not her first language. She is Slovenian-born, and left the country in her 20s to pursue a career in modelling before meeting Donald Trump in 1998.

However Ms Trump did not appear to appreciate the billboard, and her lawyer has demanded it and any others like it be removed immediately. 

"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," lawyer Natasa Pirc-Musar told The Associated Press.

"We are still analysing possible further legal steps."

Ms Pirc-Musar said the Croatian school has apologised for the billboards, but a statement still needs to be published with Croatian and Slovenian state news agencies.

A spokeswoman for the school, Ivis Buric, expressed her disappointment that Ms Trump took offence to the billboards.

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

Ms Buric did admit that the advertising campaign was "very successful", because of local and international publicity, but said the school will now be putting up new billboards that do not feature the First Lady. 

Ms Trump is quite popular for marketing in her native Slovenia.

Her image has appeared on cakes, underwear and tourism advertising - although she has proven quite protective of it, hiring lawyers to follow up on improper use on a number of occasions.