Friday, September 22, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Friday, September 22, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Artist Sues Trump Over Photo in Skittles Mess

(CN) - Donald Trump is facing a federal lawsuit from a Chicago artist who claims the GOP presidential candidate's campaign used his photo without permission to illustrate its jaw-dropping assertion that Syrian refugees are equivilent to a poison-tainted bowl of Skittles.

David Kittos sued Trump, his campaign, his son Donald Jr., and his running mate, Michael Pence, on Oct. 18 in the Northern District of Illinois federal court.

Kittos created a photo in 2010 called "White Bowl of Candy," posted it to his Flickr account and registered it with the U.S. Copyright Office.

"Each piece of candy in the Photograph is randomly placed inside of the bowl, allowing their bright and boastful colors to become the centerpiece of the image," Kittos stated in the lawsuit. "It would be beyond difficult to accurately recreate such a vivid image, given the challenge of replicating the exact lighting and exposure of the image, as well as assembling the arrangement of the candies."

Kittos claimed that the Trump/Pence campaign used the photo in an online advertisement. He also stated that Donald Jr. tweeted the photo with the caption:

"[i]f 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."

Donald Jr. allegedly followed up by tweeting, "This image says it all. Let's end the politically correct agenda that doesn't put America first."

Kittos stated that the Trump campaign's use of the photo "is reprehensibly offensive" to him because he is a refugee himself from Cyprus, "who was forced to flee his home at the age of six years old."

Kittos also claimed that the photo went "viral" and that the campaign caused "an epidemic of third-party infringement of the photograph" through retweets on Twitter and shares on Facebook.

He is seeking undisclosed monetary damages and an injunction against further use of his photo.

Heather Blaise and the Chicago law firm of Blaise & Nitschke PC are representing Kittos.

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

Categories / Uncategorized

Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.