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. RichardSRussell

    Wouldn't it be great if, any time someone's tempted to engage in violence, they decided to get over it by kissing a loved one?

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

      Omigoodness, what a great idea...!

      June 17, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stephen

      If only...

      June 17, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ct

    I guess her daddy is just finding out what all the boys in school already knew.

    June 17, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Vumba

    "Are you stupid or something?" Isn't it romantic? Pictures like this were saved for the end of a major event, WWII comes to mind. But now the mindless young want to romanticize destruction. "Hey dude, were you there in 'couver in 2011, when we showed the world we are one! Awsome time". These are bored, pampered children, and sadly to say adults included. Where were the leaders among these trolls trying to stop such chaos, these are the heros. Oh brother. Now you make self made destruction some thing of beauty. Incredibly stupid. Itl take millions to clean up. How about some of those cleaning the city stop and give each other a kiss – romanticize that!. Of course the punks who started this are all gone to the next show.

    June 17, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • speckledmom

      Please read the article.

      June 17, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stephen

      Do you always post comments about articles you didn't read?

      June 17, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sark

    Some people get turned doing things in strange places. I know I do 😉

    June 17, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sybaris

      That's what I'm thinkin'. I'll bet this isn't the first time they've "embraced" in a public place.

      June 17, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. qwertyuiop

    WHERE ARE HER PANTS???

    June 17, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fred

      I don't know where her pants are, but she looks like she has a great @ss, and I'd like to investigate it up-close.
      Nice legs too.

      Very impressive.

      June 17, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • CAM

      She seems to be wearing a really short dark blue skirt....

      June 17, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • DarkBronzePlant

      Who cares?!!! 😉

      June 17, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • hingedlwnb

      It's a photo! You can't see the pants.

      June 17, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. GT

    Having helped a close friend out who was lying on the ground in need of medical attention... that's what it looks like. That's not generally how people decide to make out, given their specific position. Also, they're wearing nice clothes and lying down on a dirty city street after a riot.

    Also, they're on the frickin' ground after a riot moved away. It's not rocket science, folks. People fall down, get hurt, and go to public events with their loved one.

    If it was opportunistic, it's done very well and would convey a poignant message that cnn & others seem to be incapable of understanding. You don't need a specific ideology to figure that out, just a sense of perspective.

    June 17, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. PithyMcGee

    That chick has got a SERIOUSLY fine rear end! Mmmm-MMMM!!!!!!!

    June 17, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Lee

    We just did a story on the Vancouver riots at our radio station and from the vibe of it all despite Vancouver being embarrassed by the riots this photo is being shopped as a Pulitzer candidate. If it wins you heard it here first.

    June 17, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. buppity

    this is a staged pic – anyone can tell you that. Only IDIOTS (like CNN) would think this was REAL NEWSWORTHY... Fools on you and WHO CARES!!!...

    June 17, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. BeefyLong

    First guy to score in Canada in Years!!

    June 17, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. rinzler

    Another perfect opportunity to use the shocker wasted.

    June 17, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Faloofalla

    This is soooooo obviously staged!!! They look like they were posing for the cover of a romance novel. LOL!

    June 17, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bus2

    I'm sure that girl's father must be very proud...

    June 17, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Tim

    Actual news organizations have already shown pictures from another viewpoint showing friends helping the couple. She had been knocked down and her boyfriend knocked down as well. They were injured not making out. Try to keep up CNN.

    June 17, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Lola

    I love this photo. It's beautiful and sort of like the flower that survives the tornado. Love for each other does conquer all.

    June 17, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
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