PARIS, France – French President Nicolas Sarkozy has asked his lawyer to take legal action against low-cost airline Ryanair for using a photo of him and girlfriend Carla Bruni in an advertisement, a spokesman said Monday.
The advert, published Monday in the French daily Le Parisien, showed the smiling couple with a comic book speech bubble coming from Bruni’s mouth saying: “With Ryanair, all my family can come to my wedding.”
Sarkozy adviser Franck Louvrier said the French leader had requested the immediate removal of the ad, although it was not immediately clear if he would also seek damages.
He said Sarkozy’s office considered the ad “an improper use of the president’s image.”
Ryanair, in a statement, said: “It was a humorous comment on a matter of great public interest in France. We apologize sincerely for any offense caused.”
The romance between the recently-divorced president and the supermodel-turned-singer has captured headlines since they went public with their relationship in December.
Sarkozy, 52, has hinted that marriage is on the cards with Bruni, 40, though he has not revealed a date.
It is not the first time that Ryanair, Europe’s biggest low-cost airline, has used politicians’ likenesses without permission.
The Irish company has used photos of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero in past ads.
Last year Ryanair reportedly settled a lawsuit filed by Sweden’s ex-Prime Minister Goran Persson out of court after using his photo picture without his consent.