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Trump Jr.’s anti-refugee Skittles photo was taken by a refugee

'I would like the Trump campaign to delete the image.'


Andrew Couts


Posted on Sep 20, 2016   Updated on May 25, 2021, 11:25 pm CDT

The photo of a bowl of Skittles used in a Twitter post by Donald Trump Jr. to condemn the allowance of Syrian refugees in the United States was taken by a refugee. 

Photographer David Kittos, who created the image, tells the BBC that, while he is now a British citizen, he was a refugee as a child when his family had to flee their home in Cyprus in 1974 after it came under the rule of the Turkish military. 

“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,” Kittos 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.”

While Skittles have a surprising history as a vessel for political speech, it is the analogy surrounding the colorful candy that has the most problematic past. As the Intercept reports, the Trump campaign’s analogy of a few dangerous people poisoning the entire population can be traced back to Der Giftpilz (The Toadstool), an anti-Semitic children’s book by author Julius Streicher.

Streicher, known in Nazi Germany as “Jew-Baiter Number One,” was hanged at Nuremburg for crimes against humanity.

More recently, the concept has been employed by countless people for a wide range of causes, from white supremacy to feminism.

Wrigley, maker of Skittles, responded to the controversy, telling the Daily Dot and other media, “Skittles are candy. Refugees are people. We don’t feel it’s an appropriate analogy.”

In addition to shooting the image of the Skittles, Kittos never released the image under any copyright license that would have given Donald Trump or anyone in the Republican nominee’s campaign or family the rights to use the image. It remains on Kittos’s Flickr account under an “All rights reserved” copyright. Kittos says he “was thinking about getting lawyers involved, but I don’t know if I have the patience.”

“I would like the Trump campaign to delete the image,” he said, “but they are probably not interested in what I have to say.”

Update 12;44pm, Sept. 28: The Skittles photograph used by Trump Jr. in his tweet has been removed, due to a report from the copyright holder. 

H/T Daniel Dale

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*First Published: Sep 20, 2016, 4:22 pm CDT