“As I told his lawyer, he's welcome to buy it,” the photo's auctioneer and current owner Gary Zimet tells TheWrap
DiCaprio's legal team sent a letter to the online auction house on Thursday, demanding the return of the autograph photo inscribed, “To Leo DiCaprio, Best Wishes, Mandela, 9-8-07.” The photo is priced $25,000.
Gary Zimet, owner of Moment in Time, acknowledged receiving a letter from the actor's legal team but has no plans to hand over the picture for free.
“As I told his lawyer, he's welcome to buy it,” Zimet told TheWrap. “It's the only way he'll get it.”
Zimet wouldn't divulge how he acquired the photo of Mandela and DiCaprio, saying he's only possessed for about a week, but vouches for its authenticity.
An individual with knowledge of the DiCaprio situation confirmed the letter. His representatives had no comment on the matter.
DiCaprio played a South African smuggler in “Blood Diamond,” which was released overseas in 2007, the same year the photo was apparently inscribed.
Mandela, the anti-apartheid revolutionary who spent 27 years in prison before eventually gaining freedom, was the president of South Africa for much of the late '90s. He died last December at the age of 95.
Though unwilling to fork over the photo, Zimet doesn't hold a grudge against DiCaprio.
“I like him as an actor,” Zimet said. “He's brilliant.”