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. Bear

    Look at her....FALLIN' BACK ON THAT AAAAYYYYZZZZZ!!!

    June 17, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. boka

    2 losers In loserville.

    June 17, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Smarterst Human

    She's got a banging a$$!

    June 17, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Smarterst Human

    The violence probably made her totally HOR NY!

    June 17, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. joe

    @bobcat2u, you think that's bad try sending a comment in with the woed con st tution, as in US Con sti tution, without the spaces-it'll get censored to. Apparently at cnn the word US con sti tution is a cuss word.

    June 17, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • oysta

      It's because it has the word t it in it.

      June 17, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. nelco

    Oh my God!! This is SO amazing! Wow Wow!!! Come on people! Can't you see this is all photoshop?! Whatever just to have a
    drop of celebrity. Tomorrow all you guys will be drooling with the picture of the Queen of England in line to get the latest
    SmartPhone! Gee, it's just pathetic.

    June 17, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • S

      did you see the video? it's not photoshop idiot lol

      June 17, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Laowai4life

      You're 10 years old, right?

      June 17, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  7. joe

    Sorry should've been too.

    June 17, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. KiddSS

    Rich Lam the professional photographer that took the picture "...I didn't know what I had till my editor pointed it out".
    So much for his professionalism. Point and shoot is all that is needed for his job. Classic dunderhead.

    June 17, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Smarterst Human

      He had no idea what he'd gotten, yet the focal point is squarely on the two of them and not the riot or the cop in the foreground. Load of horsesh{t!

      June 17, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  9. joe

    The funny thing is that you can say dick, poop, penis, pee and many other words and they're just fine.

    June 17, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. JasonP

    That girl is pretty hot.

    June 17, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jack

    I was there and saw this happen, it was a complete set up. Don't give these losers anymore credit then they deserve, but I guess its too late for that.

    June 17, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Canadian Genius

      Okay everybody, we can stop. "Jack" was there. As proof, he just posted on CNN.

      June 17, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ramblin'Ray

    Why have I run into this other photo with the same couple? http://yfrog.com/kjgihfj
    Which pix came first? Are either of them real and not photoshopped?

    June 17, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Abunuasi

    War, what is it really good for. Love, not war, is the answer.

    June 17, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Frank

    To bad she had panties on huh? LOL

    June 17, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Peter E

    You do know Vancouver rioted only because 2/3 of the Bruins players are also Canadians? They only dare riot against other Candians. If we actually had Americans playing for Boston they would not have dared riot. Of course, then Boston wouldn't have won... but at least the Candians would have apologized for that too.

    June 17, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
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