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. Mainehunter

    I've seen alot of things but I haven't thinged alot of sees

    June 17, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Fernt

    "Stand back, people, they're gonna blow!"

    no denying it IS a great picture, but a contrived, attention-seeking moment.

    June 17, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • iamthefredman

      That is a funny photo. Now get a room.

      June 17, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fernt

      yeah, hey if she's in art school and this was a project – A+.

      June 17, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • speckledmom

      Lying down to comfort one's girlfriend who's been injured during a riot is contrived and attention seeking behavior? That makes me sad.

      June 17, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Al

    She has a nice a$$.....

    June 17, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • iamthefredman

      Boo- YAHHHHHH !!!! Yes she do !

      June 17, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Former Marine

      Yeah, but I'm a bit concerned. Her family said that it's her, but the only part of her that is clearly visible is her legs and a$$, why do they know those parts so well that they can immediately identify her from them.

      June 17, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sylver

    Simply amazing and pure love & affection ..........this second could never be re-created. This is why I love to take pictures, you capture a moment in time & space..........

    June 17, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • iamthefredman

      First of all, this photo is staged. How do get to lay down in the street in a riot and make out while someone actually gets a photo (and clealry) ? Staged, staged, staged.

      June 17, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • speckledmom

      Iam, please read the dam* article, for crying out loud!!

      June 17, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Glenn

    Amazing photograph!

    June 17, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  6. svann

    Make love not war!

    June 17, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Whilliey

    many ppl think in different ways....but essentially itz relly great...
    i would apprericiate the photographer....!gudpicman..!!!

    June 17, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. That Guy

    She has a nice butt.

    June 17, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Kat

    Older woman's point of view; sorry all of you wannabe lovebirds–this one was staged. He should have been holding her head in both hands, talking her down, not holding her down with his mouth. Too much on display by the female to be coincidental. It was a photo op and they took it.

    June 17, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Poppy

      Thank God an expert finally weighed in on this

      June 17, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jack Crowe

    Another couple of idiots who took advantage due to imbecilic photographers giving them ideas for a magazine "cover story", and you nincompoops bought it as "genuine". Simpletons, people don't do this in the middle of a freaking riot!

    June 17, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Former Marine

      Why not? I would. Take it when you can get it man!

      June 17, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • David Brockmeier

      You've never been in a riot then. The media always go on about how terrible riots are. But if they weren't pleasurable breaks in a monotonous world, then why would we enjoy to do them so much when the moment allows for it? Look at all the smiling faces in the pictures of this and other riots. There is pleasure in it. The usual alienation of the world falls away in moments like these, and we can begin to act on our own, as well as together with others. And we must rip apart to shreds this world so that we can give birth to another.

      June 17, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  11. BlackDynamite

    Make love, not riot

    June 17, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. hingedlwnb

    Flash mob fail.

    June 17, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. John Galt

    She is a hottie.. he is a lucky guy.

    June 17, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. staged

    look where her legs are, look where his hands are, look at the angle of this photo...staged, staged, staged!
    But very cool photo!!

    June 17, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • hingedlwnb

      I prefer to concentrate on where her legs end.

      June 17, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  15. BlackPowerHo


    June 17, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
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