Donald Trump and his presidential campaign have found themselves in more legal trouble. British artist David Kittos has filed a lawsuit against the Republican presidential nominee and the campaign for using his copyrighted image of a bowl of Skittles for an anti-refugee tweet.
Last month, Donald Trump Jr., the son of the real estate mogul, posted the image along with 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.”
According to Kittos, the campaign used the photo without his permission leading to copyright violation. The artist filed the lawsuit Tuesday in federal court in Chicago and named the father-son duo and Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence as defendants. He is seeking unspecified financial damages and an order restricting the campaign from using the image further.
Twitter removed the image after Kittos filed a complaint under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act a few days after Trump Jr.’s tweet.
Kittos, a resident of Guildford in England came to the U.K. as child refugee from Cyprus. He often posts his work on photo-sharing website Flickr.
“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,” Kittos told BBC last month.
“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,” Kittos explained.
The 48-year-old is particularly affected by the use of his picture for debate surrounding 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,” Kittos said.
Trump Jr.’s tweet drew sharp criticism. Mars, Incorporated — Skittles’ parent company — called the comparison “inappropriate.”