Ivanka Trump and her company have recently been targeted with criticism over her wearing a $10,800 bracelet that is part of her jewelry line when she appeared with her father, now the president-elect, Sunday on CBS’s 60 Minutes.
Several journalists at the New York Times and Vogue claimed they received an email from Trump’s company, Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry, that was titled “Style Alert” and depicted Trump wearing what the Times called “her favorite bangle from the Metropolis Collection during the 60 Minutes interview.
— Jim Roberts (@nycjim) November 15, 2016
Trump and her company have come under fire for allegedly using her appearance to directly promote her product and increase sales, creating a potential conflict of interest.
Emails promoting a product after it’s been seen in a high-profile environment are not uncommon in the fashion industry, but they’re usually sent by a company’s communications department as a kind of affirmation their product is so trendy it was worn by a celebrity or someone attending a high-class event.
In the case of Trump’s 60 Minutes appearance, the email sent to the reporters at the Times and Vogue came from the vice president of sales for Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry, whose duties include working with wholesale partners in an effort to increase the number of outlets selling a product.
When the email concluded with the line, “Please share with your clients,” the inference was the bracelet was worn in an effort to promote sales, not just to complement a wardrobe.
The Times reported that it reached Monica Marder, vice president of Trump’s company, via phone and asked her if she was the one who had sent the email.
She reportedly said “I am not available for comment” several times before hanging up.
Abigail Klem, the president of Trump’s brand, tried to frame the situation in a less controversial light.
“This notification was sent by a well-intentioned marketing employee at one of our companies who was following customary protocol, and who, like many of us, is still making adjustments post-election,” Klem said. “We are proactively discussing new policies and procedures with all of our partners going forward.”
It is not against the law for presidential relatives to continue running their own businesses, However, Section 713 of Title 18 of the United States Code forbids the use of likenesses of the presidential seal for promotional purposes.
While no violation of this law has yet to occur, one of the reporters from the New York Times called the situation “ethically blurred,” and warned the incident could be just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to potential conflicts of interest moving forward involving the new president-elect, his family and their many business interests.
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