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. Victor

    She's probably a butterface.

    June 17, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Confused

      Uh..melted butter for the lobster?

      June 17, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  2. AnnaEA

    What ever the story, it's a great picture.

    June 17, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Goku

    Great @ss on that chick!! 😀

    June 17, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • DoubleTap

      True THAT

      June 17, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian in COlorado

      You are a PIG !! But I totally agree with you.

      June 17, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robb

      Agreed.

      June 17, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fundies

      nothing beats a great ass. she can have a butterface. who cares.

      June 17, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robb

      Wait, is the black all hair??? Yikes

      June 17, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • cdub22

      I concur

      June 17, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. DRM

    Of course it's staged, fools! This is the way people gain attention these days who don't have talent. It's everywhere. Youtube, TV, Facebook.

    June 17, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • GT

      it was staged just so that posters her could astound us with their intellect and razor-sharp sense of jumping to conclusions.

      Not that such people would just be looking for attention.

      June 17, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. John R

    Ah, Vancouvervites. They can't even riot properly...love swoops in and ruins it.

    June 17, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jeepers

    That's hot.

    June 17, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Rick

    @Victor...wow....I see that you are very well versed in the international news arena !!! Grow up....

    June 17, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. zoundsman

    Initially, I thought it a "Devil may care" embrace and kiss. But, him stopping to help is fine and responsible.
    I do wish this more of this generation would take on more of the former (romance) and let the wacky world do
    its maddening dance.

    June 17, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Kbalz

    Why didn't he zoom in more? CMON!

    June 17, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • MTV

      Because the photographer was using prime lens 🙂

      June 17, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Lanfear

    Love the picture! What difference does it make if it was "staged" or not?

    June 17, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  11. DoubleTap

    gives a new meaning to "Make Love NOT War"

    June 17, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Canadian

    Police would not let someone (a lone female) lying in the street (before the picture was taken). I think this is just another faked picture.

    June 17, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • elena

      uh...i think youre overly optimistic. especially in the midst of the riot, i think they'd prefer she chill there for a min or two instead of joining the crowd, or attending to her only to get bombarded while off-guard by the people that ACTUALLY were rioting

      June 20, 2011 at 2:07 am | Report abuse |
  13. Leanndra

    So first she gets injured by a police officer who brutally knocked her down with a shield, then a strange guy, seeing her prone body, decides to take advantage of her situation by climbing on top of her and starts molesting her just as the photo is taken? Would he have taken advantage of her if she wasn't hot?

    June 17, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      Laughable...and way to far fetched...They were identified and are a couple !!! Good lord don't you know how to read !!!! You know....READ...Words, in a sentence....Make sense of a phrase..........

      June 17, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lanfear

      wow you're stupid.

      June 17, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • speckledmom

      U haz verry bad reedig skillz?

      June 17, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leanndra

      Yeah if you believe that, sheep! Ba-a-a-a-a-a. Keep playing with your little iPhone and let the grown-ups talk.

      June 17, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • speckledmom

      Leeandra, did you even attempt to read the story? Or did you just look at the picture and make up your own?

      June 17, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Independent

    Looks to me like she fell down and he was comforting her. As far as the conspiracy that invaders from space came down and started the riot.. You're insane.

    June 17, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  15. DP

    Helping someone who's injured is still a special person who doesn't connect with what's going on around him. You have to march to your own beat to do something like that.

    June 17, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
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