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. lance corporal

    so much for "anarchists" seems like a couple of normal decent kids and out of control thug police

    June 18, 2011 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • david

      Out of control POLICE? Did you look at the out of control morons doing all the damage? I bloody well would love to see those "fans" put in prison for a few days. The money they cost the city and small businesses is astounding. What part of burning a police car and buildings do they NOT see as WRONG? Now, not saying the kissing couple were doing this, just a comment about the crowd in general.

      June 18, 2011 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  2. Trish

    Hey guys, will you visit HelpFaye.ORG a friend of mine is fighting for her life.... Thanks

    June 18, 2011 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  3. Bob

    I think it's CRAZy to riot because of a Hockey game.. What values do they follow!

    June 18, 2011 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  4. BoFo

    Geez. Slow news day!

    June 18, 2011 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  5. Cesar The Chorizo Champ Of Chihuahua

    The photo is great but horrible for 1.) Its in Canada, 2.) It's a sports riot, 3.) It's a hockey riot, 4.) Its in Canada – If the cops had guns and it was a life or death riot about something that mattered, it would be classic.

    June 18, 2011 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • RobertCal

      If it is in US, the would be more violent with so many trigger-happy, cops and common folks, around.

      June 18, 2011 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  6. RobertCal

    An intimate act in this age of living dangerously.

    June 18, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  7. Edd

    That's what I'm talking about.

    June 18, 2011 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  8. frank

    couple 'explains' famous riot photo.

    June 18, 2011 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  9. donthate

    **couple explains...with an "s"...way to go cnn...

    June 18, 2011 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  10. Dudley Doright

    I recall a simpler time when the Royal Canadian Mounted police could disperse an angry mob of crazy Canucks by simply waving their snotrags at them. Once in a great while we would need to resort to throwing wads of tissue paper at them, but that was only at hockey games before there were rules.

    June 18, 2011 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  11. Philip

    It's just a photo of a couple of people whom were beaten down by the police. I don't see what the big deal is. We have hundreds of them in Denver.

    June 18, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Norm

      You have no idea at all how powerful this photo is. It is as good as the sailor and nurse kissing on Times Square during VJ day.

      June 18, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Put Da Cover On

    Orale men that is a hot tamale!!! arriba arriba.

    June 18, 2011 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  13. Trish

    Hey Guys, will you visit HelpFaye.ORG a friend of mine is fighting for her life... Please Read... Thanks

    June 18, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Blackhawks423

      Im so glad Chicago won!

      June 18, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  14. Real Champion

    Canuck cops are as dirty as their hockey players!

    June 18, 2011 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  15. Rodney King

    And all I got to kiss was the pavement.

    June 18, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
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