A tweet by US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s son, Donald Junior, with a photo of Skittles – the candy – used as an analogy to the threat posed by Syrian refugees, has sparked a huge social media reaction.
But in a new twist, it transpires that the photo used was taken by a Greek Cypriot living in the UK who was himself made a refugee as a young boy in Cyprus in 1974.
Trump Jr’s tweet showed a bowl of Skittles under the caption “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.”
The tweet was accompanied by a comment from Trump Jr.
“This image says it all,” he wrote.
“Let’s end the politically correct agenda that doesn’t put America first.”
The image had been taken by David Kittos, 48, from Guildford, UK, and posted on Flickr in January 2010 and he says the Trump campaign used the photo without asking him.
“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 on Wednesday.
“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.”
The tweet drew scathing criticism from users, many of whom posted photographs depicting suffering refugees in Syria, with the word ‘Skittles’ attached.
Even Wrigley, owner of the Skittles brand, disapproved.
“Skittles are candy. Refugees are people. We don’t feel it is an appropriate analogy.”
According to Kittos, he took the picture in his home studio.
“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,” he told the BBC.
He explained he was six years old when the Turkish invasion took place.
“We lived in the area of Cyprus that is now under Turkish military control. We have to leave everything behind overnight. Our property and our possessions.”
Kittos said he thought of suing over the unauthorised use of his image, but “don’t know if I have the patience”.
“This isn’t about the money for me,” he said.
“They could have just bought a cheap image from a micro stock library. This is pure greed from them. They should not be stealing an image – full stop.”