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. Fundies

    i plan on making out with my wife at the next riot.

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

      Cool. Please give me a hint before, and I will show up with my camera (with all due respect) 🙂

      June 17, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. gatorgator


    June 17, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. lance corporal

    great pic. loooove the half moons

    June 17, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  4. speckledmom

    Fabulous photo!!

    June 17, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lanfear

    Haters are just jealous... that the romance isn't alive in THEIR relationships.

    June 17, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Vince

    Hot chick...

    June 17, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dementia

      Actual HOT A$$

      June 17, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Andrey

    she's got nice legs!

    June 17, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mike

    What exactly is she wearing (or not wearing?)

    June 17, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Alex

    hey, what can i say, good job dude...

    June 17, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  10. likes bike

    they were the reason for the riot. Police had to ward off the envious guys. She's taken . . .shouted the officers . ..

    June 17, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  11. facondor

    I see Ass. Nice.

    June 17, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Bikini Wax

    Great photo. Right place right time and the photographer should get paid well for this one. The picture is like a story and it brings a slew of questions to mind. Art has many forms, and this is one great example. I don't need to read any article about this, and I don't care. It's a perfect picture and its hot!

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

      AGREE, real hot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

      June 17, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. digitalage

    It's been reported that these two were actually pushed to the ground and he landed beside her. He's holding her head because she hit it in the process – the photographer actually thought she might be hurt when he snapped the picture and was later told by his boss they were kissing. There's now a picture of people coming to their aid as she's holding her head and crying. CNN should really get their stories straight.

    June 17, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Michael

    Hmmm, where's that right hand at??

    June 17, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • tomster

      @JB.....checking her pulse.

      June 17, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ReeferPower

    The real story according to the Canadian media is that the girl was injured and knocked down by a police shield.

    He boy friend was comforting her and he kissed her when the photo was taken. They weren't 'making out'.

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