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. vrim

    Lucky you, Vancouver. The violent thug rioters are all folk heroes now.

    June 18, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mike Houston

    NhL Bruins beat Canucks in Stanley Cup championship game. Some angry fans rioted. Young couple got overrun in the
    process. Boy kissed girl to comfort her...END OF STORY. Vancouver's still a beautiful place. Canadians are great people
    still, and US Americans aren't malicious devils...END OF STORY. Shut it down CNN...

    June 18, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Snowberrie

    That is tha farthest thing from romantic I can imagine. If he was actually trying to calm her as he says with a romantic kiss on the cheek, why did he not do that when they were standing? I'm not sure why she laying on the filthy ground with her bottom hanging out and we are supposed to belive that was romantic. My guess is they were drunk following the game, the riot got their juices flowing, and as soon as they hit the ground they both forgot about everything else going on around them and just wanted to get down to it.

    June 18, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • jp

      You've watched Crank one too many times.

      June 18, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob in Atlanta

      Why don't you watch the video? You can see she is smashed to the ground repeatedly by bully police. I bet they are so proud of themselves beating a girl down. Clearly unprovoked and excessive force.

      June 18, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • chella

      nobody was ever "smashed to the ground repeatedly by police", what on earth are your referring to? there was not one single incidence of police brutality during this thing – nothing. That's a remarkable police achievement.

      June 19, 2011 at 1:03 am | Report abuse |
  4. Mike Papadopoulos

    Really? We've got the Middle East in almost utter chaos, gas prices through the roof (thanks to Obama), $14 trillion dollars in debt (thanks to Obama), 10% unemployment (thanks to Obama), and CNN is reporting on a guy kissing a girl on the cheek? What has this world come to?

    June 18, 2011 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • rbnjorlfl

      "Really? We've got the Middle East in almost utter chaos, gas prices through the roof (thanks to Obama), $14 trillion dollars in debt (thanks to Obama), 10% unemployment (thanks to Obama), and CNN is reporting on a guy kissing a girl on the cheek? What has this world come to?"

      1.) Gas prices were through the roof before Obama (In fact they hit $4.00 about 5 or 6 years ago)
      2.) The debt was at $13 Trillion before he even took office, so don't act like the guy spent all $14 Trillion. In fact, $12 Trillion of that debt comes from Republicans, being that when Reagan took office, it was only at $1 Trillion and 4 years later it was at $4 Trillion. Clinton has a surplus, so who does that leave on the hook for the other $9 Trillion? Oh yeah, the guys during the other 12 years when we had Republicans in office. And besides, even with all that in mind, Congress makes the budget, not the president.
      3.) Unemployment is at 9%, dimwit. It was at about 8% 3 or 4 years ago, before Obama took office.
      4.) The U.S. is not the only place on Earth, so stop acting like CNN has to ignore everything else in the world.
      5.) With all of the things you mentioned, what better time to have a story like this? It shows that despite all of the terrible things that happen in the world, there's still good things going on and still people with good hearts out there.

      June 18, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • mrdudes

      Don't blame CNN when it's clearly Obama's fault!!!

      June 18, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike Papadopoulos

      @rbnjorlfl I doubt you have higher than a 5th grade education? I'm just sayin.

      June 18, 2011 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • rafaelrobyns

      "I'm just sayin'" is always a sign of high intelligence and education. Nicely displayed.

      June 18, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. TripleA

    "I was just trying to calm her down."
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! nudge, nudge, wink, wink, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!

    June 18, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Elysium

    He had been beaten, and he still went back for her and tried to help her rather than go off on her being hysterical and drag her away. He acted as a true gentleman and his parents should be proud. Romantic? Fairy tales don't last. Character does.

    I'm glad that I will have more to remember about the riots than a bunch of idiots. Thank you, Scott Jones for showing us a better side of humanity.

    June 18, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. tommyrock

    Still, Canadian fans can't take a hockey loss. They're worse than football hooligans.

    P.S. The Cup is still in the USA.

    June 18, 2011 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Dre

    OBAMA IN 2012 ! ! !

    June 18, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Rocky Mountain Eve

    The photographer captured a tender moment of comforting during a horrible ordeal. It was a beautiful moment preserved forever.

    June 18, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  10. whywhy

    that is romantic. It is great that you two really love each other. Its a shame when love is gone

    June 18, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Pssht

    half the bruins are canadian anyways, the cup always spends some time in Canada.. regardless of all the meatheads who rioted, hockey is and will forever be Canada's game.

    June 18, 2011 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Kissers Explain: COMPTON EDITION

    She be foamin' at da mouth and sh/t.

    June 18, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Kissers Explain: COMPTON EDITION

    Hep me. Hehhhhp me. Po po done beat me down.

    June 18, 2011 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Paige

    I get it. So, when your girlfriend is upset/hysterical, and needs calming down, you stick your tongue in her mouth? Yeah, not buying it. Staged fame.

    June 18, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      This was so staged it is unbelievable. Pretty ass though.

      June 18, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • mm206

      How on earth could they know that they would be photographed, and the photograph would have been made famous?

      June 18, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • lol

      You think the camera person was placed there too? They had the foresight to know there'd be a riot, and had a third person stand in front of a riot cop to take the photo? Or maybe just one of the police officers took it? Maybe the entire riot was staged just for the photo.

      June 18, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • dhondi

      napalm is the answer.

      June 18, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Are you people serious.. you're saying they staged being trampled by riot police at just the right time and place to be caught on camera by a nearby photographer which they somehow knew would make them famous and be seen by millions.. and then they provide a completely reasonable explanation for what happened which is backed up by video footage of the incident.. REALLY?? That's pretty damn impressive if they managed to stage all of that for a photo.

      I swear those of you who scream "fake" or "staged" on everything are just as bad as the birthers..

      June 18, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • David55

      for all the people who say its staged? So what? Its almost more impressive that artists would get in the middle of a riot in front of and behind the police lines for the picture. And if they did, well done.

      June 18, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • chella

      definitely staged for sure, photographer was also in on it.

      June 19, 2011 at 12:48 am | Report abuse |
  15. a_nation_of_sickos

    This broad should be arrested for indecent exposure instead of being given this nationwide celebrity status. Her entire private are practically showing. If an airline can arrest a young man because his boxers were showing, how is this any different. It just amaze me how one incident is considered acceptable and another lesser one warrants an arrest, based on who's who. There's nothing "cute" about this chicks as*s showing.

    June 18, 2011 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • ap

      Are you for real? I hope there is no one that dumb out there. Next time she goes out and thinks there might be a chance of getting caught up in a riot and knocked down, I'm sure she'll change into her jeans so as not to offend you and your type/

      June 18, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • meow

      While I agree it doesn't warrant attention, you must be a prude to think it warrants arrest.

      June 18, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • anon

      Sorry but America is crazy with its views towards innocent nudity.

      June 18, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
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