Donald Trump Jr., the son of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, tweeted a photo on Monday likening a bowl of poisoned Skittles to refugees that quickly went viral thanks to the inaccurate and dehumanizing comparison.
Ironically, however, the tweet attempting to justify Trump’s harsh anti-refugee policies wouldn’t have been possible without the talent of refugees.
David Kittos, the U.K.-based photographer of the image of a Skittles bowl that was included in the tweet, is actually a former refugee from the Turkish occupation of Cyprus. He fled Cyprus when he was six years old.
Kittos came out against Trump’s tweet on Monday, saying that he had not authorized his photo’s use. “This was not done with my permission, I don’t support his politics and I would never take his money to use it,” Kittos told the BBC. “I would never approve the use of this image against refugees.”
Kittos’ own refugee experience parallels what is happening with as many as 65.3 million people who have been displaced by insecurity and violence.
“We lived in the area of Cyprus that is now under Turkish military control,” he explained. “We had to leave everything behind overnight. Our property and our possessions.”
Even beyond Kittos’ photo, immigrants helped facilitate Trump Jr.’s tweet in other important ways.
Pause to reflect on the fact that this was sent from an iPhone, which was created by the son of a Syrian immigrant. https://t.co/N13gXgRozn
— Binyamin Appelbaum (@BCAppelbaum) September 20, 2016
The tweet was sent out via an iPhone — the smartphone created by Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs, who was the son of a Syrian immigrant.
Donald Trump has long called for anti-immigrant and anti-refugee policies such as building a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, implementing a total ban on Muslim immigration, overseeing the mass deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants, and creating a no-admittance policy for Syrian refugees into the United States over fears of terrorism concerns.