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German Canalla says he drew the design that was eventually altered to appear to show Greta Thunberg in a sex act. March 2, 2020. (CTV News Edmonton)

An Argentinian tattoo artist says X-Site Energy Services altered his design to make the decal that appears to show Greta Thunberg in a sex act, and he wants to take legal action.

German Canalla told CTV News Edmonton he received a message on Instagram alerting him of his art being turned into disturbing stickers of the climate activist.

"I was like, 'What the f***," Canalla said. "I was really shocked and surprised."

Canalla's drawing, of which he made four or five and sold around the world, shows a pair of hands holding the braids of a woman from behind. The altered imaged included "Greta" on the female's back and the X-Site Energy Services logo.

Canalla says his work is erotic and about consensual sex, but "never about rape and child abuse."

The Argentine said he's currently looking for a copyright lawyer to sue X-Site Energy Services.

"What the f*** are you thinking? It's horrible. This is a teenager, trying to do something good for the world … shame on you, people."

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On Monday, X-Site Energy Services issued an apology and said it was trying to recover the stickers to destroy them.