A photographer from the United Kingdom filed a federal lawsuit in Chicago Tuesday against Donald Trump’s campaign over its use of his photo of a bowl of Skittles in a controversial advertisement against Syrian refugees.
David Kittos, a refugee himself from Cyprus, posted the photo to the image sharing website Flickr in 2010. He says it was “reprehensibly offensive” to discover it had been used without authorization by Trump’s team last month, according to the copyright infringement lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court.
Heather Blaise, an attorney for Kittos, said the suit was filed in Chicago to get a more favorable jury pool. Trump campaign representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday evening.
The ad was tweeted Sept. 19 with Kittos’ photo underneath the words: “If I had a bowl of skittles [sic] and I told you just three would kill you. Would you take a handful? That’s our Syrian refugee problem.”
Widely viewed as dehumanizing of a humanitarian crisis, the ad caused an uproar across social media and prompted a statement from the candy’s parent company Wrigley: “Skittles are candy. Refugees are people. We don’t feel it’s an appropriate analogy. We will respectively refrain from further commentary, as anything we say could be misinterpreted as marketing.”
Twitter removed the photo Sept. 27 after Kittos’ lawyers reported the infringement.