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. Dre

    Hey, Obama in two thousand twelve!

    June 19, 2011 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Mahmood Allah

      As a muslim it is my duty to vote for a fellow muslim like Obama.

      June 19, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Judith

      "Mahmood Allah" is so obviously NOT a real name, but nice try neocon! LOL!

      June 19, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Tomazz

    In the meantime, let's all kick-back and watch foreign governments turn on their own citizens, and pretend like it could never happen here. It would start happening here if you cut-off the crack supply you dimwits. It would start happening here if they never extended unemployment benefits for goodness sake!

    June 19, 2011 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
    • tomizz

      to Tomazz – This is sorta remarkable. I had not read down thru the posts when I made my own. My handle "tomizz" was not chosen as a play on yours. Mildly strange but otherwise meaningless coincidence. Perhaps we are related?

      June 19, 2011 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Judith

      The US government has gotten physically brutal with citizens. Perhaps you're too young to remember the "Kent State Massacre" in 1970? (4 killed and how many injured?) How dare they protest against the lies of a terrible president! Some weren't even part of the protest... they were merely walking to class.

      Our government continues to control the masses using less obvious means. Hiding the Truth might be their primary method. Other ways are neatly buried as unknown sentences added to unrelated legislation.

      Never doubt or underestimate the control our government exerts on us. Take a good look at what has Really caused so much unemployment here and you will soon learn that any Party allegiance is a futile waste of time. BOTH have been strong advocates for exporting our jobs overseas for the past 3 decades. Jobs that cannot be outsourced, are firmly protect both Legal and Illegal immigration to keep their bosses (Corporate America) flush with cheap labor.

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

      to Judith – I, for one, am not too young to remember Kent State. I fully agree with you. It's too bad that such harsh lessons are difficult to pass along with words alone.

      June 19, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mohamed Allah

    Please vote for Barack Husain Mahmoud Obama the 3rd in 2012!!!!!
    Thank you...

    June 19, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Judith

      Getting confused here. Are you Mahmood OR Mohamed Allah. Maybe one = the other? Who do you really want us to vote for? That lizard dude- Newt? Or is a newt a salamander? Whatever. After decades of doing my duty as a citizen, I'm doubtful I will even bother voting in 2012. This time it doesn't even look like we will have the option of voting Against one... you know, like the lesser of the two evils? Nope, I think I will avoid taking sides on this round. What can a centrist do when faces with 2 candidates that have nothing to offer? The ONLY choice in 2012 (from the current choices) is: stay with what we already know, in hopes that things won't get any worse OR take a chance on the newest list of lies?
      ***Anyone who has faith in what Either party says is hopelessly delusional.***

      BTW, nobody has any say in who their parents are OR what they were named. Example: my poor (deceased) mother was named by her father, who decided the next born would have his name. She was given the name- Cecil and she hated it! Granted, we do have a legal option to change our name if we chose to do so, but not many bother no matter how bad the name is.

      June 19, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Judith

      Oh, I forgot!!! The 2012 election won't matter anyway if the Mayan calendar turns out to be true. Right now I'm looking into that town some claim will be safe from this doomsday prediction: Bugarach, which is in southwest France. LOL! Don't I wish I could be planning a trip to France!

      June 19, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joe

    Hey look, a police car is on fire, people are rioting, and police officers are approaching with shields. I wonder if I should leave, or wait for those nice approaching police officers to ask me nicely if I'm rioting or just standing here like an idiot?

    These 2 should be arrested for obstructing and failing to obey police instructions. Or perhaps they should just be sent to counciling to see why they are so stupid.

    June 19, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Judith

      Joe- From your comments it's obvious you didn't read much, if any if this article or watched any of the video.
      "These were just loser spectators watching other losers behave like idiots."
      "These 2 should be arrested for obstructing and failing to obey police instructions. Or perhaps they should just be sent to counciling to see why they are so stupid."

      According to the couple:
      "They started charging at us, and we tried to run away, but Alex couldn't," Jones explained.
      "I just tripped up," Thomas interjected... 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."

      She was on the ground, not 'standing around' like you said. He was trying to help his girlfriend get out of there safely. In an interview she said she was hysterical and the boyfriend said this was when he kissed her on her cheek to calm her down. One would think anyone, even a cop in a tense situation, could tell when a woman was hysterical!

      BTW, that kiss was so brief even the photographer was unaware he'd gotten that shot until AFTER he was going thru the pictures he'd taken. So they were not lounging around in the street, making out.

      Maybe YOU wouldn't help your girlfriend get out of a horrible situation like this? From your comments, I'm guessing you would have just left her behind.

      June 19, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. BraveFart

    He's a good man.

    June 19, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Abdul-Goldstein

    Pat Riley wants to return LeBron's talents back to Cleveland but Cav fans reacted by giving their best synchronized middle finger salute.

    DeLonte West is defending LeBron. He said the media has been too harsh and unfair to LeBron. West has had enough. He said: "Leave my STEPSON alone !"

    June 19, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jazzitup

    So how could his sister posibly recognize her brother in that picture when she saw it ?? You can barely, if at all, make out any facial features of either of the two in it.

    June 19, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. John

    God, PLEASE PUT THIS TO REST!!! Who freakin' cares!!!

    June 19, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Howard

    This so BS

    June 19, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. banasy

    @Stanley Bing:

    My sentiments exactly.

    June 19, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. banasy

    @Howard:

    Ditto.

    June 19, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Tee Pardy

    George. That would explain obese cops driving around on Harley's smoking cigars downtown today. (one was even sitting on one of them special doughnut pillows for hemeroids. really) At least that would explain how smart they appear to be.

    June 19, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  13. publius

    The riot police "men" that knocked her down should be brought up on charges. She did nothing wrong.

    June 19, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. l

    http://youtu.be/M2FtREdCFNk

    Real heros of Vancouver. The people that prevented the riot damage, and the regular people that CLEANED up the the mess the next morning. not the government, just normal volunteers. Try seeing that in America – LOL they'd be cleaning up bodies from all the gunshot murders.

    June 20, 2011 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
    • elena

      Are you really slamming America because your riot that DID happen was less deadly than a hypothetical American riot your ignorance conjured up? You do realize that MOST Americans DO NOT carry concealed firearms, right?

      I've been in two riots (not a participant, one celebratory/one defeat) after football games, while they were embarrassing for our town, worst damage was a broken window. Every football weekend, thousands of volunteers clean up the trash from the 80,000-110,000 spectators, and thousands MORE that just come to tailgate and have a good time. Our student body alone is 50,000 in a small town. By Monday, we are back to our beautiful landscape. Never EVER a dead body, let alone shooting victim.

      i 'd say quit while your ahead, but your jealousy and igorance have already done you in. Your snarky comment was COMPLETELY unnecessary.

      June 20, 2011 at 1:52 am | Report abuse |
    • haha

      wow. elena is an idiot.

      June 21, 2011 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • sam

      elena's totally right. in the US we can handle ourselves better. The fact of the matter is that the riot happened in canada, so people just look for an excuse to pass some kind of blame to us. Boston won the game and there were 6 arrests for drunk and disorderly conduct vancouver lost and there's mass rioting... the facts speak for themselves

      June 23, 2011 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  15. Larry

    I'm proud of the guy that went back to his lady, I'll bet he was a Bruin fan.
    **Boston Bruins – World Champions**

    June 20, 2011 at 1:29 am | Report abuse |
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