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. alben

    Fascinating contrast. From the 60's "Make love, not war."

    June 17, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. DejaVu60s

    "Make love, not war."

    Good idea then. Good idea now.

    June 17, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. AmericanSam

    Wonderful.

    June 17, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sagebrush Shorty

    As in America the dumbing down continues in Canada.

    June 17, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bikini Wax

    Staged or not. it's the picture thats incredible and should be award winning IMOP.

    June 17, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. riotnazi

    How many riot nazis does it take to beat up a girl? Why do we constantly see pictures of them ganging up on women? cowards

    June 17, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan in Michigan

      Did it ever occur to you that the rioters weren't all male? Should the police let women riot because they're women?

      June 17, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. hingedlwnb

    Boy that Pippa gets around!

    June 17, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. USMC79

    "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." hahahahahah
    What an idiot!!

    June 17, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sarah

      my thoughts exactly!

      June 17, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • hingedlwnb

      Har! Where I come from that kind of special gets you a leather helmet and a ride on a short bus.

      June 17, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cartman

      LOL, he's retarded.

      June 17, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Marco

    More un-news from CNN.

    June 17, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • sickandtired

      Maybe...but you read it, didn't you!

      June 17, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. David from FL

    Stupid riot... but awesome picture.

    June 17, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  11. MisoMoses

    It's one of the most beautiful pictures I've ever seen.

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

    this picture is beautiful.
    Plan and simple.
    It explains so much without words.
    Love Love Loveeeee.

    June 17, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • hingedlwnb

      Holy hell... That was so sweet my teeth hurt just from reading it.

      June 17, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. steeve-o

    The girl probably doesn't want to be identified, since we all just saw up her skirt.

    June 17, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Liza

    LOVE!!!!

    June 17, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. kevin in santana row

    ...wasted.

    June 17, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
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