TIME 2016 Election

Photographer Behind Donald Trump Jr.’s Skittle Tweet Was a Refugee

Donald Trump, Jr. in Cleveland, on July 19, 2016.
Jim Watson—AFP/Getty Images Donald Trump, Jr. in Cleveland, on July 19, 2016.

David Kittos says the image was used without his permission

The photographer whose image of a bowl of Skittles was tweeted out by Donald Trump Jr. in an anti-refugee statement says he did not grant permission for its use — and that he himself was a refugee.

The image was used as a metaphor for the refugee situation, with text reading, “If I had a bowl of Skittles and I told you just three would kill you, would you take a handful? That’s our Syrian refugee problem.” Trump Jr. further editorialized in his tweet, saying “Let’s end the politically correct agenda that doesn’t put America first.”

The image quickly sent the Internet into an uproar, and Skittles manufacturer Mars tweeted out a statement condemning the comparison:

The photographer of the Skittles, David Kittos, tells the BBC he never granted permission for its use, and indeed that he wouldn’t accept payment for it from the Trump camp because he doesn’t support the Republican candidate’s politics. “In 1974, when I was 6 years old, I was a refugee from the Turkish occupation of Cyprus, so I would never approve the use of this image against refugees,” he says. Now a British citizen, Kittos recalls his family’s flight from Cyprus: “We had to leave everything behind overnight. Our property and our possessions.”

Kittos says he would like the image to be deleted but doesn’t expect it will. “This is pure greed from them,” he says. “I don’t think they care about my feelings. They should not be stealing an image full stop.”


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