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. jim

    Riot police attack and injure bystanders. Great. No wonder there is a violence problem in Vancouver BC.

    June 18, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Inagadadavida

    Just goes to show that a riot isn't a spectator sport.

    If one was going on in my town, I certainly wouldn't be out strolling with my beau.

    I'd be safely indoors.

    Now, how about those Bruins!

    June 18, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Inagadadavida

    @D987654321:

    I so agree!

    June 18, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Inagadadavida

    @D987654321:

    With all of your posts.

    June 18, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. beernpizzalover

    So they both got their '15 minutes of fame' in pretty early in life...good for them!

    June 18, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hockeyn109

      Time to move on, next. Who cares.

      June 18, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Savannah

    I guess this is there five minutes of fame. -Savannah http://www.hammocktracks.com

    June 18, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. bobcat2u

    I had always heard that the corrolation between violence and s-x had a very strong aphrodisiatic effect on some individuals. Could this be the true reason they were making out ? Just couldn't wait until they got back to the hotel room.

    June 18, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. willy

    canada and its people suck

    June 18, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Hockeyn109

    Her rear end is definitely more appealing than her face.

    June 18, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Billy

    It was pretty obvious that they weren't making out.

    June 18, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Huh?

    Famous photo?

    June 18, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Carol

    IF THE WORLD WAS THAT WAY THERE WOULD BE A WHOLE LOT LESS WARS AND THAT IS A FACT!!!

    June 18, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Action Jackson

    He caused the riot so he could save a helpless girl. Bottom feeding munchausen shark.

    June 18, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike Kirkpatrick

      Seriously?! You sir, are a DB!

      June 18, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. RusTnuts

    If cnn is going to create a story about a photo...wouldn't you want to include the photo in question at the beginning of the story? Just a suggestion....I'm no reporter.

    June 18, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • maya

      I think most people have seen that photo, but you are right they should include it at the beginning.

      June 18, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. My2Sense4U

    And this dear readers is what mental illness and peversion does to one. Filled with hate and insults for no good reason. His only advantage is that he is able to hide behind a computer. One more reason why people like this should be selectively removed from society.

    June 18, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
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