September 20, 2016 9:22 am
Updated: September 20, 2016 4:36 pm

Donald Trump Jr. compared Syrian refugees to poisoned Skittles using a refugee’s photo

In this July 19, 2016, file photo, Donald Trump Jr., son of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, speaks at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. The younger Trump posted a message on Twitter likening Syrian refugees to a bowl of poisoned Skittles, causing a stir and negative tweets on the internet into Tuesday, Sept. 20. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)


Donald Trump Jr. has been left with rainbow coloured egg on his face after a controversial tweet comparing Syrian refugees to a bowl of poisoned Skittles.

Not only has the company that makes the fruit-flavoured candies hit back, but in an ironic twist the photographer who took the photo Trump Jr. tweeted was himself a refugee. And Trump Jr. used the photo without permission.

David Kittos told BBC he would never have allowed Trump Jr. to use his six-year-old photograph to support his father Donald Trump‘s Republican presidential campaign.

“I don’t support his politics and I would never take his money to use it,” he said.

“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.”

In his dubious tweet posted Monday night, Trump Jr. shared the image with the message:

“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 added, “Let’s end the politically correct agenda that doesn’t put America first. #trump2016”.

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Kittos wants Trump Jr. and the Trump campaign to stop using his photo.

“But they are probably not interested in what I have to say,” he told BBC, adding he didn’t know if he had the will to take legal action.

“They could have just bought a cheap image from a micro stock library. This is pure greed for them. I don’t think they care about my feelings. They should not be stealing an image full stop.”

As of the time of publication, the tweet had not been removed.

Candymaker Wrigley also weighed in on Trump Jr.’s Skittles comparison.

“Skittles are candy. Refugees are people. We don’t feel it’s an appropriate analogy,” Vice-President of Corporate Affairs Denise Young said in the statement.

“We will respectfully refrain from further commentary as anything we say could be misinterpreted as marketing.”

Outraged Twitter users took to their timelines to blast Trump Jr. for the comparison, sharing heartbreaking images of child refugees using the phrase, “People aren’t Skittles.”

Trump has made screening, and in some cases outright barring, immigrants and refugees from entering the county a wedge issue in this year’s presidential campaign. And Trump Jr.’s tweet comes on the heels of weekend bombings in New York and New Jersey.

Trump and other prominent Republicans have also called for a halt on the U.S. accepting Syrian refugees in the name of national security. The United Nations estimates the Syrian civil war has forced nearly five million Syrians to flee the country in more than five years of civil war.

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Despite already rigorous screening processes in place, right wing politicians in the U.S. argue accepting Syrian refugees could allow Islamist extremists to slip through the cracks. There are no known threats to national security in the U.S. — or in Canada, which has accepted more than 30,000 Syrians since last November — linked to the resettlement of Syrian refugees.

A risk analysis from the Cato Institute released last week, looking at the very issue of terrorism and immigration, found there is a 1 in 3.64 billion chance, per year, of an American being “murdered in a terrorist attack caused by a refugee.”

“By contrast, the chance of being murdered by a tourist on a B visa, the most common tourist visa, is 1 in 3.9 million per year Any government response to terrorism must take account of the wide range of hazards posed by foreign-born terrorists who entered under various visa categories.”

With a file from The Associated Press

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© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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