"I’m really really appalled by having my image, you know, on Twitter used against the refugees," said David Kittos, 48.
“If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you. Would you take a handful?” the tweet's graphic says, "That's our Syrian refugee problem."
David Kittos, 48, who told ABC News he took the photo and who has what appears to be an identical image posted on Flickr from 2010, said, "How someone could twist things, and I don’t know, use my image to compare some sort of poor refugee to a poison sort of Skittle, that is just really beyond belief."
"I haven’t put the image for sale, and it was all rights reserved, so no, I wasn’t really expecting anyone to want to take it," Kittos said. "I have had stuff stolen before but when I got an email from some news website I was sort of really annoyed and disgusted to be honest."
Kittos told ABC News he does photography as a hobby and took the Skittles photo while experimenting with different flash techniques in his living room six years ago, never expecting it to become part of a political campaign.
The plight of refugees is an issue close to Kittos, who recalls fleeing Cyprus as a child.
"We all had to kind of just take our stuff and run away. It was quite frightening for all people who had to do it, especially for the people who actually lost family and not just their belongings," he said.
If he could talk to Donald Trump, Kittos said he would ask him to apologize to Syrian refugees. "But I don’t expect he will do that," he said.
The Trump campaign responded to a question about the photo with a more general comment on the controversy over the tweet.
"Speaking the truth might upset those who would rather be politically correct than safe, but the American people want a change, and only Donald Trump will do what's needed to protect us," the statement said.