The Twist in the Skittles Story You Haven't Heard

September 20th 2016

Almie Rose

No one thought we'd be talking about Skittles candy in regards to the 2016 presidential election, but here we are thanks to a tweet from Donald Trump Jr. comparing the candy to refugees.

In 2010, photographer David Kittos was experimenting with his camera equipment by taking photos of ordinary objects in his house, like this bowl of Skittles in a white bowl against white wrapping paper. He posted it to Flickr and copyrighted it as "all rights reserved."

Six years later Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's son compared Syrian refugees to a bowl of Skittles using a meme with the Trump/Pence campaign logo — and Kittos' photo.

It wasn't long before Skittles was trending, and people were angry for Trump's glib and reckless metaphor.

Perhaps no one is as angry as the Kittos.

David Kittos, the photographer of the memed Skittles bowl, was a refugee himself.


A photo posted by David Kittos (@haveumetdave) on

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

Not that the Trump campaign even asked. "This was not done with my permission, I don't support his politics and I would never take his money to use it," Kittos explained. The photographer isn't even on Twitter; his friends told him about the viral use of his photo.

Legal action?

Kittos is unsure of what to do about the whole ordeal. "I would like the Trump campaign to delete the image, but they are probably not interested in what I have to say," he explained to the BBC.

He continued:

"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."

It's particularly ironic of course that Kittos, now a British citizen, was a refugee because of the Turkish occupation and his own photo is being used against him in anti-refugee rhetoric.

The screening process.

As ATTN: previously reported, it is not an easy process for Syrian refugees to be accepted by America. The screening process is long, arduous, and strict:

"According to Sec. Johnson, Syrian refugees undergo a more rigorous screening process than other refugees. The department also says that more than 23,000 potential refugees have been referred to the U.S. and that only 2,000 have made it past the screening."

You can watch ATTN:'s video on the Refugee Screening Process below.

The Refugee Screening Process

Next time you hear someone say Syrian refugees are dangerous, show them this. Learn more about the screening process here: http://bit.ly/1I8Hte3

Posted by ATTN: on Tuesday, November 24, 2015

[h/t BBC]