US & Canada

Donald Trump Jr tweet: 'I'm a refugee' says Skittles photographer

David Kittos who took the skittles photo Image copyright David Kittos
Image caption David Kittos, who had to flee his home in Cyprus in 1974, is angry that the Trump campaign have used his image

Donald Trump Jr's tweet comparing Skittles to refugees has caused a furore on social media. In a new development, the man who took the photo of the Skittles has revealed himself to be a former refugee.

David Kittos, 48, from Guildford, UK, woke up to find an image he had posted to Flickr in January 2010 had become embroiled in a political controversy.

"This was not done with my permission, I don't support his politics and I would never take his money to use it," Mr Kittos told the BBC.

"In 1974, when I was six-years old, I was a refugee from the Turkish occupation of Cyprus so I would never approve the use of this image against refugees."

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption This tweet has provoked furore about its message

In his tweet, the son of the Republican presidential candidate uses Mr Kittos' image with the accompanying text: "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."

He adds: "This image says it all. Let's end the politically correct agenda that doesn't put America first."

Wrigley, the company that owns Skittles, stepped in to the furore by responding: "Skittles are candy. Refugees are people. We don't feel it is an appropriate analogy".

'No permission'

David Kittos, who does not follow Twitter, was alerted to the use of the image by friends.

A keen photographer, he told the BBC he originally took the picture in his home studio: "I was just experimenting with something called off-camera flash.

"This was 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.

"I have never put this image up for sale. This was not done with my permission, I don't support Trump's politics and I would never take his money to use it."

Mr Kittos' personal history means he is particularly dismayed by his image being used in a debate around accepting refugees.

"I am now a British citizen but I am Greek-Cypriot by birth and in 1974 I was a refugee because of the Turkish occupation.

"I was six 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."

'Pure greed'

Mr Kittos is unsure whether he will take action over the use of his image by the Trump campaign.

"I 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."

Patrick Evans, BBC's UGC and Social News team


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