On Monday evening, the son of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump took to Twitter to argue that admitting Syrian refugees to the United States is akin to eating from a bowl of Skittles in which three of the candies are poisoned.
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) September 19, 2016
David Kittos, 48, of Guildford, England, told the BBC that he posted the image used by Trump to Flickr in January 2010. He added that he doesn’t use Twitter and was alerted to Trump’s use of his picture by friends.
“This was not done with my permission, I don’t support his politics, and I would never take his money to use it,” Kittos told the BBC.
Kittos said he is “now a British citizen, but I am Greek-Cypriot by birth.”
“In 1974, I was a refugee because of the Turkish occupation,” he said. “I was 6 years old. We lived in the area of Cyprus that is now under Turkish military control. We had to leave everything behind overnight — our property and our possessions.”
He said that he took the image photo “six years ago when there were no Syrian refugees at the time and it was never done with the intention of spreading a political message,” adding that he would like the Trump campaign “to delete the image.”
“But they are probably not interested in what I have to say,” he said. “I was thinking about getting lawyers involved, but I don’t know if I have the patience. This isn’t about the money for me. They could have just bought a cheap image from a micro stock library. This is pure greed from them. I don’t think they care about my feelings. They should not be stealing an image full stop.”
A Twitter controversy immediately ensued after Trump posted the image. A spokesperson for Skittles responded, saying that “Skittles are candy. Refugees are people.”
— Seth Abramovitch (@SethAbramovitch) September 20, 2016
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