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. EvenCrazierCulDeSac

    Um, this isn't your street.

    June 18, 2011 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bear

    I hope they're ready for the worldwide reality media tour. If they play it right, these two will be set for life...all for simply being in the right place at the right time. If only all of us were this lucky. Meanwhile, I'll keep searching for a job and living out my lonely bachelorhood outside of Dallas. Woohoo! Zzzzzzzz...

    June 19, 2011 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Richard Coderre

      I hear you my man, but we will resolve. Bless you.

      June 19, 2011 at 12:56 am | Report abuse |
  3. Duf

    Are we forgetting that these two were part of a bunch of lowlife hoodlums who destroyed thousands of dollars worth of public property? Not really sure why their deserving of so much praise...

    June 19, 2011 at 12:35 am | Report abuse |
    • HWright

      Many thousands who were in downtown Vancouver that night were simply there to watch the game. My sister was there and tried to leave (as many others tried) when she sensed the mood was deteriorating. The transit systems were shut down, however, essentially trapping everyone. Many others tried to stop the hooligans, but it was impossible–the mob mentality had taken over. A small group of idiots are to blame and with social media capturing many of them on film, they will be brought to justice (including a handful of US citizens). While very sad, this is certainly not representative of what Vancouver has to offer. For many reasons it is well known to be one of the very best places in the world to live.

      June 19, 2011 at 1:11 am | Report abuse |
    • EWGuy

      HWright: Yeah, right. If Canada had lost to the U.S. at Hockey during the Olympics, the whole country would have burned, despite the weather. The cops would have been crashing burning cars into McDonalds along with the rioters!

      June 19, 2011 at 3:01 am | Report abuse |
  4. Mick

    I don't care what was really going on...that picture is HOT!

    June 19, 2011 at 1:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Bobby

      right?!?! i love this picture... a beautiful juxtaposition of romance in a sea of utter violence... it's a great picture... these kids should be proud.

      June 19, 2011 at 5:01 am | Report abuse |
  5. Darrenj

    for those who keep thinking this riot was about a hockey game your wrong. As it has been confirmed by police and news organizations here in Vancouver the riot was planned by the same groups of morons that were at the G20, G8 and Olympics causing problems. They planned this for weeks and were seen going downtown *before* the game with goggles, gas cans and other items. People talked about it online days and hours before it even happened. Because the crowed was over 100,000 people police could not safely enter to stop it. They(the mornons) edged on the drunk rowdies once it started to get it going further...this riot would have happened if the canucks won or loss because it had nothing to do with the game.

    but the real story was the thousands of regular people that showed up after the riot at 4am in the morning...with their kids, families and friends...holding brooms, garbage bags and cleaning cloths and cleaned the whole area with city workers until about 10am in the noon the only things remaining was the broken windows and damaged businesses. The people have been stopping police, fire and ambulance members in the street and thanking them. people have been using facebook to track down people involved in the destruction and have them identified to the police.....Vancouver people care about their city....not the morons that came here to cause this problem

    June 19, 2011 at 1:48 am | Report abuse |
    • lolo

      I knew it ! Mormons are guilty !! So religious when they knock on the door, but deep inside some ruthless anarchists ! Yeah, mormons !! Oh, or morons ?

      June 19, 2011 at 8:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      "for those who keep thinking this riot was about a hockey game your wrong"

      My wrong? Oh, you must mean "you're". I suppose you were absent that day in second grade.

      June 19, 2011 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  6. DrVonBrain

    that's sure some nice ass-phalt.

    June 19, 2011 at 2:33 am | Report abuse |
  7. Darrenj

    Here is the real story people

    June 19, 2011 at 2:41 am | Report abuse |
  8. David_G

    Ecstasy is an amazing drug.

    June 19, 2011 at 3:21 am | Report abuse |
  9. jaded1111

    MUCH ado about NOTHING

    June 19, 2011 at 6:08 am | Report abuse |
  10. American Citizen

    In law, this is called a "distracter" or something that is about nothing – sort of like the Seinfeld show. It causes the mind to think, "What the hell..." and it will never make sense because its purpose is merely to distract the public from more pressing issues.

    June 19, 2011 at 7:15 am | Report abuse |
  11. Nola lady

    I think the photo is fabulous. And now with the real story, it's easy to see how a picture can be construed so differently from what the situation really was ... I think the real story is beautiful. I'm so glad they were not really hurt in this riot Things can get so out of control so very quickly in these situations. I'm sure the police initially thought they were part of the problem and once they realized they moved on ... it's sad things are that way, but so many people cannot behave these days. It's ridiculous. I hope they do make some money out of this ... not for being in the right place at the right time, but because out of this scary moment, something positive will come out of it ... something that reminds us that in the end, caring for each other through tough times is what makes being human so fabulous!

    June 19, 2011 at 7:57 am | Report abuse |
  12. mrtonee

    it would have been better if she was wearing a g-string.....................

    June 19, 2011 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
  13. Cowhand

    When the herd is threatening to stampede, you don't grab the wife and kids and run down to looky-loo. Some people have the herd mentality and just can't help themselves. Others wanted to be part of the herd, but couldn't afford tickets. So the cheapskate took his date to the hockey game after it was over. Joining the herd as it were.

    June 19, 2011 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  14. tomizz

    The day may come when a qualification to become a riot cop is a specified minimum IQ. (Other than absolute zero.) If that day ever does come, the idiotic brutality that so often occurs in tense police situations will greatly decline.

    June 19, 2011 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Judith

      Yes, I see what you mean. Why would a 'real man' ever feel so threatened by a woman on the street, to the point he'd feel it was necessary to knock her down with his shield?! My point is- a 'real man' would never be compelled to do such a thing, but apparently this is acceptable among riot police? No doubt, the macho cop who did this knows, as a result of the publicity, HE was the one who did this and maybe he has read some of the public's negative comments about his truly pathetic behavior. Hope springs eternal.

      June 19, 2011 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
    • StanleyBing

      Yeah, the police should have cleared the streets of rioters by just asking them nicely.

      June 19, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • KCon

      RIOT POLICE MANUAL; Hostile Civilians Endangering & Threatening Behavior:

      "Civilians who RUN AWAY! are, in fact, trying to kill you via a sneaky offensive technique known as 'Kill Police by Running Away!' – ANY Civilian who is running, or is trying to run, away should be SMASHED TO THE GROUND in a violent manner for attempted harm on Police! ALL OTHER CIVILIANS on the street are De Facto Rioters and should likewise be SMASHED to the ground, unless they are under 3.2871 years old."

      June 19, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • KCon

      STANLEY – silly rabbit, THAT is exactly what they did NOT do here! IF they had 'asked nicely' (or simply asked at all) then this couple WOULD HAVE cleared the street if simply allowed to do so.

      Shall we consider your comment Full Consent to having Police Violence done on you without any warning, discussion or explanation AND with No Opportunity for retreat, withdrawal or escape of the violence? Is THAT the world you are asserting is best? HUH!?!

      June 19, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Judith

      Yeah, riot police mentality. I was once married to a cop, so I am fully aware of the personality. Assume ALL are out to get you and even if they've fallen to the ground, keep after them!

      Alex tripped > BF goes back to help her. "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.

      Surely, at least one of the riot cops should have been able to see this couple was merely trying to get away from the mob and not a part of the riot.

      No doubt, in the heat of the moment it would be difficult to sort out the 'good guys' from the 'bad' but at the same time they can't/shouldn't assume everyone in the crowd is a Part Of the crowd. Consider yourself (Stanley) being at a game, concert, or whatever, and trouble suddenly breaks out. You don't even know what's happening, while your instincts are propelling you to get away as fast as possible. Would you feel the same way if YOU were the one telling the story about getting slammed by the police with their shields?

      June 19, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • jack

      The Dayton police have lowered their exam passing grade to F. So yes, it's about getting the bottom of the barrel.

      June 19, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • jack

      The Dayton police have lowered their exam passing grade to F. So yes, it's about scraping the bottom of the barrel.

      June 19, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      When there is a riot going on and the police tell you to leave then YOU LEAVE. If you stand in the middle and try to claim you aren't doing anything you should be charged with failing to obey a police officer. In an emergency the police don't have time to be polite. These were just loser spectators watching other losers behave like idiots.

      The good news is with all the cameras now days most of the losers can and will be caught. A tiny group of jerks shouldn't be able to give any city a bad name.

      June 19, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Why was she there in the first place? She put herself in a dangerous position.

      June 19, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • George

      It's funny that you say that... it's not talked about much, but there actually *IS* a maximum allowed IQ for many department's police officers. Departments don't want to invest in training only to have an officer become bored or disillusioned enough to quit and find a better job, so part of the screening includes an IQ test, and if you're above a certain amount, it's no go.

      June 19, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dre

    Obama in two thousand twelve!

    June 19, 2011 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Judith

      Jullie – Just as long as something WORSE doesn't get elected into office. From the first GOP debate, that group of 'choices' is beyond pathetic. Get someone to run against him who Really has something worthwhile to say in the way of SOLUTIONS and not just repeating mindless rhetoric and they might succeed. If you found yourself disabled, after 30-some years of a well-paying career, you'd be terrified by the talk going on, aimed at Social Security and Medicare. I know, those who are not dependent on these programs could care less. But take a good look at your pay stub... like all of us, you are paying for both of these benefits and would expect them to still be in place if you suddenly needed them. Too many forget how the government has Repeatedly "borrowed" (taken) from SS funds over the years and never paid it back. Clinton magically balanced the budget during his term because him and Gingrich took the money out of SS!!! And if anyone deserves prison time, I'd have to point a finger at Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld for war crimes. How soon people forget the truth of what happened and WHY we are in this mess we're in!

      Anyone who trusts EITHER PARTY are utter fools!

      June 19, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
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