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. Mark

    at the moment this picture was taken, the girl was saying: "hey baby I'm so glad you packed that first aid kit in your pants, oh wait guess you're just happy to see my girl parts"

    June 17, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • guatelindaxela

      thanks, for bring me a big smile to my in needed face – and life –

      June 17, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. zadaw

    As Solid Snake would say, "Can love bloom on the battlefield?"

    Apparently yes.

    June 17, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Justin

    June 17, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jojorican

    There are times when the smiles turn to hiss /
    when mob minds mull a mile in a rift /
    then hot fingertips fall on soft lips /
    and all else becomes moot in a kiss /

    June 17, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. anon

    I thought ecstasy was still illegal in Vancouver

    June 17, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. cadecker

    I know some US think canadians are crazy about hockey..but in the US
    a fight breaks out while people wait in line for seats to Casey Anthony's murder

    June 17, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Xhibitionist

    Just trying to draw attention away from the fact her a$$ is hanging out.

    June 17, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
  8. MickCanberra

    Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi ! Our currency is pretty hard, our sports people are pretty good and this bloke Jones from Perth seems to be a world famous smoocher....! I bet you wouldn't see a scene like that in a riot in Syria, Iran, Turkey, etc.

    June 17, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      totally agree, girls in those backward countries actually cover their genitalia, how oppressive!

      June 17, 2011 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • MickCanberra

      @ Mark Looks to me like only love and not genitalia on display. But perhaps in countries you may know better, a kiss between an unmarried couple is a stoning offense...! Backward countries are those that make love a criminal offense.

      June 17, 2011 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
  9. soer roes

    aha... staged!...... some media pr stunt. 'i know you eddy!! I know you.. ( eddy mrurphy citation)

    June 17, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Simon

      You are an ignorant pig who doesn't know what he is talking about. There is video of them being knocked down by riot police. The couple were interviewed tonight on CBC news.

      June 17, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joseph

      It doesn't matter if it was staged or not. There are plenty of idiots out there, many commenting on here, that eat this junk up. The point is, neither of them should have been "hanging out" around or taking part in the riot. Opportunistic thugs the lot of them! If you see a riot start to break out and you're still around, you deserve to be knocked down. None of these people were hockey fans. They saw the opportunity to be idiots and took it.

      June 18, 2011 at 12:10 am | Report abuse |
  10. Dano

    Huh. At first glance, I figured they were Bruins fans. Guess not.

    June 17, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Kiet

    See how meaningful a real kiss is. So sweet!

    June 17, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Simon

    This was not staged. There is video of the couple being knocked down by riot police. The man was comforting the woman. And we know who they are. They were interviewed on CBC television this evening.

    This is the one sweet story to come out of this mess.

    June 17, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Rudy1973

    Here, in this photo, I saw the radiant glow of innocence in the midst of all the world's turmoil; not a care to grieve for. And I thought, yes there is still hope for this world. I saw them there, on the street and I smiled Now, the accusations arrive and tears now flow from mine eyes. This could have been the most epic of powerful silent protest to man’s declaration of war, greed and hatred in the 21st Century.

    June 17, 2011 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joseph

      What a goober! Why are you glorifying these morons? The fact that they were even in the area speaks volumes for their intelligence! Go the f#%k home unless you want to be put down by the police! She deserved to be knocked on her butt.

      June 18, 2011 at 12:13 am | Report abuse |
  14. mai

    Who cares? If you are living in Europe, you would see smooches like this and semi make-outs in public and nobody minds at all.

    June 17, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • 00qq

      You're an idiot. Go back up and read the article. The story is not that two people were simply caught on film kissing. The ENTIRE POINT is that this tender kiss occurred during a HORRENDOUS RIOT that rocked the downtown area of the city. Are you really so dense as to have missed that part? Dammit. I hate stupid people. I just. Rage.

      June 18, 2011 at 1:54 am | Report abuse |
    • sandy

      Really I live in Europe and I have never seen people laying in the street kissing before. Can't say that I have seen people making out all over the place either.

      June 18, 2011 at 3:16 am | Report abuse |
  15. deborah liebman

    I watched the riots from my hotel at georgia and cambie for over 3 hours. The police were always at least 100 feet away from the violence and the fire trucks at least 100 feet away from the vehicle fires – even when the vehicles set ablaze were police cars. Unbelievable restraint. And the next morning, hundreds of citizens with garbage bags were cleaning up the streets. All the looted businesses were open. Totally amazing.

    June 18, 2011 at 12:56 am | Report abuse |
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