Media Paid Melania Trump Up to $1 Million in 2017, Allowed to Feature Images in 'Positive Stories Only'

Media Paid Melania Trump Up to $1 Million in 2017, Allowed to Feature Images in 'Positive Stories Only'

Details have emerged of a deal between Getty Images and Melania Trump, in which the latter benefited financially from a sum of at least $100,000 in an agreement that also saw the Trump family’s images used only in positive news stories.

The deal — including a sum said to be anywhere between $100,000 and $1,000,000 — has garnered attention after being noted within President Trump’s latest financial disclosure, which shows that Getty Images licensed a 187-photo series of the Trump family. The photos were taken between 2010 and 2016 by Belgian photographer Regine Mahaux. The earnings from the Getty deal stem from 2017 alone.

Peculiar about the arrangement is that in choosing to purchase any of the images via Getty, news organizations agree it must be within “positive [news] stories only,” a move that has drawn criticism. It’s not entirely unusual for someone in the public eye to seek such an agreement, but it’s rare to hear of this type of agreement involving the First Lady.

There’s no legal requirement for federal officials to share precise details of their income, but rather, an “income range,” hence the vague figure brackets of Melania’s earnings. NBC News reports that both Getty and the White House declined offers to provide an insight into exactly how much had been paid to the Trumps, or where images had been used, although Yahoo, the Daily Mail, and Marie Claire are all confirmed outlets who have, be it perhaps unknowingly, indirectly paid the first family for usage of the images.

Is this another clear example of ongoing media manipulation?

Lead image by EJ Hersom for DoD News and used under Creative Commons.

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27 Comments

Steven Adler's picture

Another reason to delete the 500px account..

user-156929's picture

Like it or not, how would it be media manipulation? Isn't the media free to take their own photos and use them any way they like? I'm pretty sure I've seen examples where they have. It looks more like millennial manipulation to me and it appears to have worked. ;-)

Michael Holst's picture

Manipulate - to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one's own advantage

I can see how it fits into the definition but in this case I don't see how it's the media thats doing it since it's a deal for the first family.

user-156929's picture

I guess I wasn't precise in my wording. I meant (teasingly) that whoever inked the deal manipulated (to treat or operate with, or as if with the, hands or by mechanical means especially in a skillful manner) Jack, a millennial. This article is just silly.
I agree that I can't see "the media" manipulating anyone to the benefit of Trump, his administration or family.

Doesn't someone with rights to a photo have the freedom to license it as they see fit? If they do not then people need to quit complaining about that case in Virginia.

user-134633's picture

If she "owns" rights to the photos (as opposed to the photographer) she has every right to control their use. As Sam Fargo said, the media can take their own photos, but she doesn't have to give the media the same access she gave to the photographer that was more than likely paid for the family portraits in question.

We should not be surprised if she has a contract with the photographer that gives her control over use of the photos. I assume it is possible to purchase such rights, whether the photographer's copyright is controlled by US law or elsewhere.

Based on her resume, she should know something about the "business" of modeling, photography and media exposure, in more than one country.

David Penner's picture

In on weekly Trump post.

David Pavlich's picture

"Positive [news] stories only,”..... was written into the deal. If Getty or whom ever signed it with the 4 words included didn't like it, then they could have said no deal. There's nothing here.

I do have a question, however. I just joined, so I don't know what stories were printed here prior to joining. Were there any like stories about Michelle Obama or Laura Bush? Just curious.......

Pretty sure Jack doesn’t own a MAGA hat. 😳

Jack Alexander's picture

Haha. I don't make any political statements on Fstoppers. Simply not a fan of sneaky behaviour, regardless the culprit

Somehow I'm not convinced. It's more likely the person involved rather than your concern over what you call sneaky behavior.

Anonymous's picture

I'm interested in how most of the Polish supreme court was removed from office recently. I have a large percentage of Polish Americans in my neighborhood. What happened there? What's up with Poland?

Anonymous's picture

Apologies. I thought we were posting unrelated comments about other countries.

Anonymous's picture

I have very low self esteem. And I also shoot a lot on film.

Anonymous's picture

Agreed!

Anonymous's picture

Agree on the Poland thing, BTW, not that your work looks like crap, lol

Eric Mazzone's picture

This version of the polish SC thing is watered down from the original earlier this year that gave the executive branch the right to fire any judge at any time and appoint whenever they felt like it, thus making SC justices political appointees beholden to the president. Which IS a huge problem.

Most of the justices are older so This effects them, giving the executive branch too much influence over SC matters. I’m over in Poland right now, and the people are NOT happy about it.

Michael Holst's picture

Pretty sure Tom owns a MAGA hat.

Jack Alexander's picture

It’s safe to assume

Daniel Medley's picture

"Is this another clear example of ongoing media manipulation?"

Answer. No. The media can take their own photos and use them as they please, right?

So what? This is a normal arrangement for those in public life.

It’s her photos, that’s her right; who wouldn’t want their own photos used in a flattering way? Would you like your photos used in a negative way? What? people are not allowed to determine how their own images are used when they sell them or give rights anymore? How is that possibly immoral per your FB title? Do you plan on questioning all of us photographers or owner of images of / by us to whom or what purpose they will be used for? More typical liberal non-sense, double standards & BS. People have that freedom in this county, be thankful for that.
Per your closing statement reveals why you even wrote this: “Is this another clear example of ongoing media manipulation?” Are you crazy, look how biased and fake the media is, and how much the media is trying to manipulate the news, lie, invent and twist facts for their political agenda. You mention you “don’t make political statements on F-Stoppers” in an earlier comment … no, you just write a story singling out the suggested MORALITY of a specific person (who happens to be our first lady) where rules are expected to be different for her than the rest of photographers on earth, where you question motives for wanting our own images used in a way the we personally want? You just try to squeeze in political suggestions around the backdoor, not amused. Customary expectations & rules don’t apply to those “you” don’t like OR because it’s President Trump’s wife. Why didn’t you write an article about Lee, Patrick or even Mike Kelley (or any great photographer’s images) for wanting to control the way “they” want “their” photos used in media and accept money for their images??? Why don’t you write an article about the morality of way Lee & Patrick want to control the use of their video tutorials once purchased or downloaded and how they should not be spread free to the world? Isn’t that manipulation? Oh, but that’s different. Their product, their control rights. We don’t subscribe to F-Stoppers for your political backdoor infusions singling out the Presidential family with selective discrimination standards of photo rights questioning her morals and manipulation for use of their images. Leave politics out of photography.
Hey F-Stoppers (Lee & Patrick) keep it up, infusing politics (suggesting the morality of political’s wife) in a photography /learning media …. stop allowing this author from infusing politics, else it might be the last time I (and 1/2 this country’s subscribers) might purchase or do business or follow you. Seriously, you intend to alienate “over” 1/2 of this country? Stupid business move.

Eric Mazzone's picture

Over half of this country? Fake news!

Anonymous's picture

I wish all those crybabies threatening to leave the site every time their sensitive little egos get offended by a politically-charged article would man up and leave already instead of incessantly whining.

The only thing more annoying than political articles on a photography blog are people constantly complaining about political articles on a photography blog.

BTW my "related articles" shows one neutral article behind the scenes during the Trump campaign and another article about how much more access photographers have to the Trump White House compared to Obama's. So enough with the claims of liberal bias blah blah MSM horseshit. Trump is in power, so he's the focus of critique. That's how politics (and life) works. Deal with it.

Or, you know, just leave.

Melania is a very smart and good person. and she is right to protect her image and monetize on the use of her portrait rights.