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. NHL

    There should be a drug testing policy imposed on NHL fans. I know we don't have a drug policy for NHL players, but they don't torch cop cars. They just fight. And you love it. So no more mind altering substances for NHL fans.

    June 18, 2011 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  2. Victor

    I knew she was a butterface! I knew it! Yuck!

    June 18, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  3. Blackhawks423

    Im so glad Chicago won!!

    June 18, 2011 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  4. Victor

    His sister is hot. His girlfriend is not.

    June 18, 2011 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  5. shelly

    I can't believe this picture made the news.

    June 18, 2011 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Norm

      coz of the message it portrays. Despite the chaos around them, they found a way to console each other, thats why this photo made the news. If you love photography, you'll know.

      June 18, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. romeo r.

    Great shot! great legs,n great background.That was a picture with a thousands words.All you need is love ...n let your imagination run wild.

    June 18, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  7. Austrailian Vampire Photographed in Action!

    (any further explanation would insult you)

    June 18, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  8. nula

    Beautiful picture, it doesn't matter the where's and whyfores...The composition is magical. Come on people, have you forgotten romance?

    June 18, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Inagadadavida

    I don't care about their name; nor do I care for their explanation.
    Thanks, CNN, for further glorifying a non-event: two people caught making out.
    What's next? The cover of 'Time' magazine?
    Ridiculous.

    June 18, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Norm

      yes, this photo deserve to be on the cover of Time magazine or photo of the year. Great cover to come with the article talking about Vancouver riot.

      June 18, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. What? OK Who?

    @vida...they weren't making out you dummy. They were recovering from getting beaten down by an angry mob of policemen and women. Read the article pickle head.

    June 18, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tad Pole

      Is there a difference?

      June 18, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. lana artez

    The Miami heat gets upset, mostly black fans, No violence . The Canuckleheads Get upset, full scale riot. 
    Beef #1. Blacks are depicted as violent animals, while whites are peace loving .
    Beef 2. The Vancouver Police DENY it was the fans even though the same thing happened years before. At least have the decency to admit you rioted. Canucks Suck

    June 18, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • kevin

      NO ONE in Miami is a fan, that is why there was no riot. Please don't make the mistake of assuming that blacks have become docile.

      June 18, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • cb

      what the hell are you talking about mostly black fans? whose ass did you pull that stat from?

      June 18, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Poolchick

      Please stop since you are making yourself look ignorant or maybe it was just bred into you....moron

      June 18, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • willie

      I always thought Miami was full of snowbirds and European tourists, they have black people there too? Cool.

      June 18, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Maurice

    It amazes me how monkey brained people can be. If you are gonna riot, then riot over something worth possibly getting arrested for. If you are rioting because of some game where a bunch of waaaaay overpaid guys are running around in circles and fighting over a ball or puck, then you need brain surgery, quick.

    June 18, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • dave

      Hockey salaries are actually reasonable.

      June 18, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      Ya, ya, we get it. You suck at sports.

      June 18, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • willie

      Actually, they skate around in circles.

      June 18, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  13. T3chsupport

    I don't care what anyone says, that photo is beautiful.

    June 18, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • evoc

      I think the photo is creepy. The photographer got a shot of two idiots – a guy who exploited an emotional female, and a female who lay passively on the ground instead of getting her butt up and away.

      June 18, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • wombatblog

      @evoc – I kind of think YOU are creepy. If you are able to twist that into "....a shot of two idiots – a guy who exploited an emotional female, and a female who lay passively on the ground instead of getting her butt up and away."

      Heaven forbid someone comforts someone who gets scared or upset.

      And it is a beautiful photo.
      And heaven forbid someone gets shaken up or scared for a moment.

      Was she complaining about her boyfriend 'exploiting' her? No? So why are you?

      Didn't they say they were running away but got caught up? Once everyone had passed them by it's not like they needed to spring up instantly was it? No?

      So everyone guy who ever dares comfort anyone is some creep?? Any female who doesn't instantly spring up from anything, even when there is no immediate need to, is some poor role model for females?

      Give us a break and get over it all and learn basic human interaction and emotions and stop trying to turn everything into some silly rant over nothing before you end up with a lonely, bitter life.

      June 18, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • kelly

      That photo is "Creepy". There is a riot going on and kissing during that is beautiful? Oh please. If that was your daughter you would be disgusted and embarassed.

      June 18, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • wombatblog

      @kelly- he just kissed her for like *one second* to comfort her and yeah there was a riot and thus need for comfort, how is that something to be disgusted or embarrassed over? wow. If the photo showed them smashing in windows or burning cars or he ran off and left her on the ground or vice-versa or showed them burning cars, now that might be something be to be disgusted and/or embarrassed over.

      June 18, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  14. RichardSRussell

    Man, if I were the Australian Chamber of Commerce or Department of Tourism, I'd be publicizing this guy all around the world!

    June 18, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Chris Honry

    " I DON"T KNOW WHY I GOT BEAT" IS ALWAYS the STUPID excuse of idiots who DO NOT FOLLOW POLICE ORDERS. When police tell you move back or go this way or that, do it or get a beating. How simple is that? Oh, I see, it's people's pride that won't let them follow orders. Then they really deserve a good beat down.

    June 18, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mao

      Even clear instructions can become muddled with hundreds of voices around you. We cannot assume that they could move back either. If police could get at them, they were at the front of a group of people.
      Also, you cannot assume that she was even given instructions. Riots are messy, don't expect order.

      June 18, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • What?

      Every decision a person makes have a priority. In this case, the girl tripped and fell, the guy resisted orders to clear away because he was concerned about the safety of his girlfriend. There is no good in seeing every situation with the objectivity you've stated. And in this scenario, I am sure the Vancouver police would agree, or arrests would have been made.

      June 18, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • wombatblog1

      Seriously? They said they were trying to move along but got caught up by the charging police and tripped up. They deserve a beating for that? Nice man, nice.

      June 18, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • willie

      I've been caught up in a riot I had nothing to do with. It simply doesn't work that way.

      June 18, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
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