Kissers explain famous riot photo
June 18th, 2011
11:20 AM ET

Kissers explain famous riot photo

[Update 8:45 a.m. Saturday] Canada's most famous lovebirds have come forward to explain the kiss photo that made them famous.

Australian Scott Jones and his girlfriend, Alexandra Thomas of Vancouver, British Columbia, told the Canadian network CBC that they were not making out in the street during the Vancouver hockey riot as it appeared in the widely circulated photo by Getty Images photographer Rich Lam.

The two were trying to find a way out of the turbulent downtown area when they were overrun by a phalanx of riot police, they said.

"They started charging at us, and we tried to run away, but Alex couldn't," Jones explained.

"I just tripped up," Thomas interjected. "I'm not sure, but I was starting to get really frightened because I'd never experienced anything like that before. And it's really scary, you know? ... I was upset, and he was there to make sure that I got out OK."

"So I went back for her," Jones said. "They (the police) started beating us with the shields, trying to get us to move. I don't know why; we weren't being aggressive towards them or anything like that. But they eventually they passed over us, and that's when we were on the ground. She was a bit hysterical afterwards, obviously, and I was just trying to calm her down."

See other images from the riot

The couple said they were shocked by the sudden media attention they'd received and didn't know how to respond, but they decided they couldn't let wild internet rumors about the image go unanswered.

"Some people didn't think it was my girlfriend," Jones said. "You know, I drugged somebody, or there was that thing where she got stabbed or something like that? The rumors got out of hand so quickly. We just wanted to clear it up."

Thomas acknowledged the thought of millions of people seeing her exposed legs and black panties made her uncomfortable at first, "but I didn't pose that way, so I think people are able to see it's a moment that happened to be on camera and that it's not embarrassing at all."

"It's actually a really beautiful shot," she said. "I wouldn't have been present enough in that moment to see what was going on, so now I can see that moment, and it's pretty incredible."

[Original post 12:09 p.m. June 17] It was the smooch seen round the world, and now we know the passionate couple's names. At least, we think we do.

The couple were photographed lying in a romantic-looking embrace in the middle of a Vancouver, British Columbia, street while a post-hockey game riot swirled around them Wednesday night.

Australian website ninemsn identified the couple as Perth native Scott Jones and his girlfriend, Alexandra Thomas of Vancouver, after Jones' sister and mother came forward.

"It is something he would do; that's our boy," his mother, Megan Jones of Perth, told ninemsn. "He has always lived in his own world. He's special like that. He doesn't always connect with what's going on around him."

CNN has reached out to the couple but has not confirmed that they are the people in the photo.

Some self-described witnesses have said the woman was injured and the man was comforting her, but online speculation is rife that the photo was staged or that the kissing couple are opportunistic performance artists.

Brett Jones of Perth, who told the Toronto Star he is Scott Jones' father, said the picture is legitimate but is not what it seems.

"She had actually been injured," Brett Jones told the Star. A riot police officer had knocked her down with a shield, he said. "He lay down next to her to comfort her. She was crying, and he just kissed her to calm her down."

Rich Lam, the Getty Images photographer who captured the image, wasn't sure what was happening.

"I just saw these two people and I thought they were hurt," he told NPR. "... I didn't really know what I got until the editor pointed it out."

NPR writer Claire O'Neill compared the scene to an art installation by Tino Sehgal at New York's Guggenheim Museum.

Brett Jones said he told his son not to worry about the doubters.

"Tell your story as it happened and there's nothing you can do about them," he told his son, according to the Star. "I think it's amazing."

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Filed under: Art • Australia • Canada • Crime • Hockey • Protest
soundoff (715 Responses)
  1. Anthony

    The worlds problems have just been sloved.....instead of shooting, rock hurling, car burning wasteful time. Just drop draw and show them what being free is all about. Good going you the shot.

    June 17, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Batman

    LOL! All these news outlets are getting punked, the photo isn't real. Google it.

    June 17, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • MSfromCA

      Uhmm.... you realize that not everything you read on the internet is true, right?

      June 17, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • W8aMinute

      ...and your source is Google

      June 17, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • MJ

      Look at the bottom of his shoe. Look at the color of the street. He, or at least his feet, are there.

      June 17, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. someon

    You gotta wonder how much attention this photo would've gotten had she been wearing jeans...

    June 17, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Greg

    ""She had actually been injured," " Funny how that tends to happen when you make it a habit of hanging out in the middle of a riot

    June 17, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      Wait, they had a habit of it? Where did you read that? How many other riots have they been too? Or are you just making things up?

      June 17, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      When it comes to doing something as asinine as hanging out in the midst of a riot, you only need to do it once before you're an idiot.

      June 17, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Gwyn

    Now, that is really what the phrase "Showing your Ass off" is all about? :))

    June 17, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. elllar12

    People start riots. likely you could trace everything back to a few stupid people drinking or something stronger daring one another and the next thing you know the rest of the drunks follow suit. This makes me ashamed of my fellow Canadians for there lack of maturity. I know we are better than that.

    June 17, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mike


    June 17, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. tyrone tyree jones

    Junk? I'm touching my "junk" right now!

    June 17, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  9. johnny$

    That is one voluptuous ASS. Perfect round butt cheeks reaching perfect convergence with a finite number of Fourier coefficients.

    June 17, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike

      I'd hit it like a cave man!!!! Beat the brakes off that ride!!

      June 17, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marky Merlot

      All Canadian girls look like that!

      June 17, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mike

    nice cutter

    June 17, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Elis-Panama

    I'm gay

    June 17, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Shaman13

    Riot and hockey (yuck) aside, real or fake, it's a beautiful image. The juxtaposition of the riot cops against the couple in what appears to be a loving embrace while the world falls apart around them? Awesome. In years to come, I think this image will become every bit as iconic as the famous "sailor kissing nurse" image. The photographer should be proud to have captured this piece of history.

    June 17, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  13. masson1012002

    Who cares.

    June 17, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. wally zebco

    This photo has to be fake. Every one knows Vancover is in Canada and Canada is covered in snow.

    June 17, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Canadian Genius

      ***SARCASM ALERT *** And there are no polar bears roaming around. And the cops aren't wearing those quaint red uniforms. The buildings should be log cabins, not office buildings.

      June 17, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Darrel

    Lousy choice of time and place, but she's got very nice legs and butt and is probably worth kissing. That being said, go to the park or get a room.

    June 17, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
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