Family explains ‘Kony 2012’ director Jason Russell’s bizarre behavior

Family explains ‘Kony 2012’ director Jason Russell’s bizarre behavior

San Diego : CA : USA | Mar 17, 2012 at 10:36 AM PDT
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My honest take on what happened with Jason Russell the man behind Kony 2012 and Invisible Children

Jason Russell, co-founder of Invisible Children and the director of “Kony 2012”, was taken into custody by the San Diego police Thursday for reportedly masturbating in public. His wife, Danica Russell, issued a statement Friday in an attempt to explain Jason’s bizarre behavior.

33-year-old Jason Russell, who created the 30-minute video, "Kony 2012", which is about African militia leader Joseph Kony and received almost 100 million views, was detained by police after neighbors reported him running naked in the streets of the Pacific Beach neighborhood.

In a video released by TMZ, Jason is seen wearing only his underwear, pounding his fists on the sidewalk and rambling like a madman. The San Diego police took him to a nearby mental health facility for observation.

Danica Russell, in a family statement Friday, blamed her husband’s “irrational” behavior on exhaustion as well as enormous attention and criticism of “Kony 2012”.

"We thought a few thousand people would see the film, but in less than a week, millions of people around the world saw it," Danica Russell said. "While that attention was great for raising awareness about Joseph Kony, it also brought a lot of attention to Jason - and, because of how personal the film is, many of the attacks against it were also very personal, and Jason took them very hard.”

Danica Russell dismissed rumors that Jason had substance abuse or drinking problems. "On our end the focus remains only on his health, and protecting our family. We'll take care of Jason, you take care of the work. The message of the film remains the same: stop at nothing," she added.

The San Diego Police Department spokesman said that Jason Russell seemed to be under the influence of something, but did not specify what. "Due to the nature of the detention, he was not arrested. During the evaluation we learned we probably needed to take him to a medical facility because of statements he was saying,” SDPD Lt. Andra Brown told the media.

An SDPD spokesperson also revealed that there would likely be no criminal charges because this was more of a medical situation.

Invisible Children CEO Ben Keesy issued a statement on the organization’s blog Friday, acknowledging that Jason Russell was hospitalized for “exhaustion, dehydration, and malnutrition.”

“He is now receiving medical care and is focused on getting better.” Keesy said, adding that the organization was “devastated to see him dealing with this personal health issue. We will always love and support Jason, and we ask that you give his entire family privacy during this difficult time.”

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Jason Russell, co-founder of non-profit Invisible Children and director of "Kony 2012" viral video campaign, poses in New York
Jason Russell, co-founder of non-profit Invisible Children and director of "Kony 2012" viral video campaign, poses in New York
Michelle Lincaster is based in Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America, and is a Reporter on Allvoices.
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