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. me

    she has a lovely butt

    June 17, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. gatorgator

    ugly...

    June 17, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Andy

    Probably the truth is that the girl was injured, have a heart, don't be a doubter all the time, the truth will come out.

    June 17, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. MMeans

    I'll say it, she's hot laying there in her panties...

    June 17, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mark

    Black!

    June 17, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. scofflaw

    Such a tragic story. All they wanted was to overturn police cars and loot buildings, maybe start a fire or two – those poor, poor rioters. Now look what happened. Can't people riot in peace anymore without being knocked over by policemen?

    June 17, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Miss Etta

      What makes you think she was rioting?

      June 17, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. johninmemphis

    did any of you read the story?

    June 17, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. alexx

    No kidding

    June 17, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. john

    cant stop looking at the butt, i hope shes eighteen.

    June 17, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • PingPong

      Best, truest comment!

      June 17, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • ram124

      Me too! They said she was injured but seem like everything is in good shape.

      June 17, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stephen Daedalus

      Damn, same thing I was thinking... I realize there should be artistic or social feelings in me about this, but... that is one amazing butt!

      June 17, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hockeyn109

      Nice legs and @ss from this angle.

      June 17, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Carl

    I think I see her canuck.

    June 17, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • jaintn

      Now that's just plain rude. Funny as hell, but rude........

      June 17, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. db

    Canada has been a wonderful country with hope and promise way beyond that of the USA and their stupid President. We welcome immigration but those that cause problems like this should be expelled immediatly and barred from ever returning. Canadians are proud and independent people but we will not tollerate this kind of behavior in our country, ea!

    June 17, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • hingedlwnb

      No one cares. This is Canada we're talking about. No. One. Cares.

      June 17, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carl

      I agree with you but I thought it was eh? not ea.
      What type of Canadian are you?

      June 17, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • PingPong

      Most Canadians are a quiet bunch of angry, jealous America-haters, who constantly judge themselves (whether they want to or not) against their southern cousins, and define themselves by being "not-American". Not exactly a long term platform to build a society or culture on.

      June 17, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hockeyn109

      Dufus, why would canadians be any different than anyone in the rest of the world. Lot of pent up anger there from what I have seen lately.

      June 17, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      I propose that the US support immigration to Canada by building a "migration bridge" from the Mexican border to the Canadian border...

      June 17, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Miss Etta

      Keep on welcoming immigration, and soon your problems will be worse than ours.

      June 17, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike

      Isn't it ironic how claims of Canadian "exceptionalism" ring hollow and are about as lame and ignoble as claims of American "exceptiionalism." Beating another country down and try to place yourself on a pedsatal is never very persuasive becasue we all have issues that need to be addressed. Better to be humble, work on your faults, and quietly work to preserve, perpetuate and improve on your strengths.

      June 17, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Laowai4life

    The girl was injured. Here's another photo, taken from above, showing other people trying to help them. http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2011/06/vancouver_riot_kissing_couple_hoax_staged_rich_lam.php

    June 17, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. amen

    amen!

    June 17, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. hgbrokensword

    agree

    June 17, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mena

    Wow, great luscious butt on her

    June 17, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
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