British artist sues Donald Trump campaign over its use of his 'Skittles' photo for anti-refugee tweet

LONDON (Reuters) - A British artist is suing United States Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, saying the campaign illegally used his photograph of a bowl of brightly colored Skittles candies to illustrate its position against bringing Syrian refugees to the United States.

Mr David Kittos, who came to the United Kingdom as a child refugee from Cyprus and is now a British citizen, said he was offended by the use of the image in a campaign message tweeted by Mr Trump's son Donald Trump Jr, which compared Syrian refugees to poisoned candies.

"If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you. Would you take a handful?" the message said. "That's our Syrian refugee problem."

Above the message, Donald Trump Jr added: "This image says it all."

In his lawsuit, filed on Tuesday in federal court in Chicago, Mr Kittos named both Trumps, as well as the campaign and Republican vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence as defendants. Mr Trump faces Democrat Hillary Clinton in the Nov 8 presidential election.

 

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the lawsuit.

US admission of Syrian refugees has long been a politically sensitive issue, although the country has admitted far fewer than many close allies. Mr Trump has said violent militants could enter the country posing as refugees.

In 2015, Democratic President Barack Obama announced plans to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees this year, sparking fierce criticism, mostly from Republicans who said the plan could put Americans at risk. His administration said in August it would meet that goal.

The Donald Trump Jr tweet, posted in September, prompted a response from the William Wrigley Jr Co, a subsidiary of Mars Inc, and the maker of Skittles, which said the company did not feel the analogy was appropriate.

"Skittles are candy," said spokesman Michelle Green."Refugees are people."

In the lawsuit, Mr Kittos seeks unspecified financial damages and an order barring the campaign from further use of the image.