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. RckyMtnGrl

    An incredibly beautiful moment amidst senseless chaos, and caught on film nonetheless. Love can exist anywhere, anytime. Me likes.

    June 18, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Trendy2012

    I smell a new photo trend... PLANKING is so 2 years ago... 😀

    June 18, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Carole Clarke

    If they are a peaceful couple, why were they out in the middle of a mob riot? Smart people know better than to think they can be spectators and be left alone. In a riot, anyone near the mob is considered part of it by police as a form of self-protection. A mob riot is not fun and games people, you do not get points for artistic effort and there are no doorprizes except to get arrested or knocked down hard. Good thing the police didn't use tracked vehicles like armored personnel carriers, hard to see people on the ground. They could've ended up as flat roadkill. Juvenile behavior.

    June 18, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • willie

      I was caught up in a riot once, it happens in a flash and before you know it all hell breaks loose. No time to think or plan, only base reactions. There is no where to run or hide with large shielded men fully geared for war coming from various directions, swinging clubs and shooting rubber bullets. They shoot first, punch, kick, grab and toss you aside. No questions are asked. Sometimes your just in the wrong place at an inopportune time. It can happen to anybody. This young man handled the situation with dignity, he protected his girl without regard to his own safety.

      June 18, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Inagadadavida

    @what:
    I've read the article, I've seen the video, and it still doesn't mean anything.
    You, on the other hand, are a complete dolt if you think that 'pickle head' and 'dummy' is anything other than a kindergartener's insult. Unless you ARE a kindergartener, in which case, get off Mommy's computer before she gives you a time-out.

    June 18, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. AJ

    Her boyfriend kissed her on the cheek trying to comfort her after she'd been injured. What a thoughtful, wonderful person. He's a keeper.

    June 18, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Inagadadavida

    @what:
    I've read the article, I've seen the video, and it still doesn't mean anything.
    You, on the other hand, are a complete juvenile if you think that 'pickle head' and 'dummy' is anything other than a pre-schooler's insult. Unless you ARE a pre-schooler, in which case, get off Mommy's computer before she gives you a time-out.

    June 18, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  7. willie

    The picture shows a noble truth, love conquers hate. She was brutalized and he consoled her with a with a gentle kiss. I'll remember this photo for the rest of my life. The photographer deserves an award.

    June 18, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. K3Citizen

    Nothing calms a woman down more than a tongue down the throat!

    June 18, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  9. zoundsman

    I love that they cleared it up. The image is still so strong that it makes more sense to let the mad, violent, turbulent
    world go spinning by- kiss, and it transports you to what is more real. Better than a ride on a roller coaster.

    June 18, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. silvershado

    Reminds me of the famous photo of the WW II sailor kissing the nurse in Times Square.

    June 18, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Beck

      That was the end of a War, not a hockey game -sorry don't see the comparison.

      June 18, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • willy

      canada sucks

      June 18, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hockeyn109

      Nope, not even close.

      June 18, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Captben31

      If figures in today's society that some idiot would crawl out from the rocks and compare this photo to our hero's and greatest generation celebrating the end of WWII. Millions of innocent people were killed in the name of fascism in WW2. Our men and women risked their lives and gave all to strangers across two oceans and were happy that the fight and bloodshed was finally over. Yet, you think 2 punks kissing on the pavement that were involved in a larger group that destroyed innocent people's property and injured dozens of police officers and innocent bystanders...over a HOCKEY GAME...is the same thing...SICKENING! If you're even old enough to vote, I'd bet my lfe savings with no hesitation on who you voted for in 08 and who you will vote for in 2012.

      June 18, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shane

      It is similar to the war photo in that the photo became a symbol of an innocent, quite moment caught in the midst of a turbulent situation–whether it be a riot, or a post-war celebration.

      June 18, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  11. tehLOLZORZ

    nice butt cheek

    haha the guy is like cutting her off "SHE COULDNT KEEP UP. SHE WAS HYSTERICAL! I SAVED HER! I AM A HERO!"

    June 18, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • DMM

      ?. She is the one who interjected, interrupted, and said she tripped and he came back for her. Reread the article – Alex Thomas is the girlfriend, not the boyfriend.

      June 18, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • CanadianGuy

      So, they were overrun by riot police who knocked them down... so how come the crowd is on one side of them, the police on the other, and the policemans back is to them and the crowd.,...shouldn't he be facing the crowd? And why, if there was stampeding, is there so much distance between them and the crowd on one side, and them and the police on the other side? Please....don't further insult our Canadian intelligence with this made up, pre-arranged picture. You have now had your 15 minutes of fame...go away.

      June 18, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tkay

      They said the policemen went over them as she was on the ground. Do you think the police line is going to stop just because a girl had fallen down?

      June 18, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hockeyn109

      Their story is BS.

      June 18, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • chella

      definitely B.S.

      June 19, 2011 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jazzzzzzzz

    Crap guess it wan't your fault after all... supid blog

    June 18, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Inagadadavida

    @Jazzzzz:

    I’ve read the article, I’ve seen the video, and it still doesn’t mean anything.You, on the other hand, are a complete juvenile if you think that ‘pickle head’ and ‘dummy’ is anything other than a pre-schooler’s insult. Unless you ARE a pre-schooler, in which case, get off Mommy’s computer before she gives you a time-out. Or five.
    Third time's a charm.

    June 18, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Reader

      I was just teasing Faker. 🙂 geesh

      June 18, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Inagadadavida

    @Jazzzz:

    NOW you understand!
    Stupid blog, indeed!

    June 18, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. D987654321

    It's nice to see that two people have the integrity to come forward and just tell an honest account of what happened without trying to become famous for it or to harm anyone else. It's actually kind of a funny and charming story. Kind of sweet too...except for the whole part about them getting, you know, tripped, knocked down and pummelled by a phalanx of riot police...LOL.

    June 18, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
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