Jason Russell Photo Courtesy of Twitter User @MrMason251
Jason Russell's naked meltdown video has taken on a life of its own, completely separate from Kony 2012. The video has increased fierce criticism of the Invisible Children organization, as well as questioning of Russell's sexual orientation and Invisible Children's links to anti-gay donors.
On Thursday, March 15, Russell was detained by San Diego police after they received numerous calls about a man running through the streets naked while screaming obscenities. Russell was then held on a 5150 psychiatric hold.
Though the Invisible Children organization blamed the breakdown on dehydration, malnutrition and exhaustion, Jason Russell's wife Danica blamed the irrational behavior on stress. This stress reportedly stemmed from the onslaught of criticism Russell, who directed the Kony 2012 video that has garnered more than 83 million hits, has faced since the Invisible Children's Stop Kony campaign took off.
We thought a few thousand people would see the film, but in less than a week, millions of people around the world saw it, she said in a statement. 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 has denied that Jason, 33, has any substance abuse problems. We'll take care of Jason, you take care of the work. The message of the film remains the same: stop at nothing, she said. Jason Russell is an evangelical Christian. He and his wife have two children together and he reportedly wants nine more.
I married my best friend. We have known each other since we were six and seven. I have a three-year-old boy named Gavin Danger and a one-year-old girl named Everley Darling. I truly believe I am the luckiest person on earth because of my family, friends and the ability to go to a dream factory every day for work, he told PMc Magazine in a March 2011 interview.
Criticisms continue to be voiced as Jason Russell's story gains more and more traction on the Internet. Some who viewed the naked meltdown video posted comments questioning his sexual orientation. In fact, the top Google search under Jason Russell's name is now Jason Russell gay.
TMZ obtained a close-up video of Russell's bizarre naked rant in the middle of a busy San Diego intersection, recorded by passerbys' cell phones. Though the TMZ video already was embedded in countless news articles and received copious hits, the video ticked up to more than 20,000 Facebook likes and more than 1,400 tweets on TMZ's website.
Numerous comments on TMZ's original posting assert that Russell is gay, and some are offensive and derogatory in nature.
Others took to Twitter with questions about Jason Russell's sexuality as well as his religious beliefs.
Adam Feldman, a theater and cabaret critic for Time Out New York, tweeted: Hard to watch this without thinking that Jason Russell is a flamingly gay guy trapped in a fundie world of self-hatred with a link to a seminar Russell gave at Liberty University -- founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, no friend of gays -- in November 2011.
Jason Russell's sexuality would be irrelevant if not for the fact that his Invisible Children organization was recently linked to anti-gay donors. New York magazine published an article about claims made by AlterNet that the Invisible Children charity's major donors included anti-gay, evolution-doubting evangelical groups, as well as the author of Uganda's anti-homosexuality bill, who has said 'even animals are wiser than homosexuals.'
In 2006, according to AlterNet, Invisible Children gave 'special thanks' to the Caster Family Foundation, which happens to be 'one of the biggest financial backers of the push for California's anti-same sex marriage Proposition 8,' wrote NY Mag Daily Intel writer Joe Coscarelli. Because Invisible Children is a non-profit, all of this information is publicly available with a little bit of digging; the spotlight just makes it easier, and more important, to find.
Daily Intel subsequently received a response from Chris Sarette, VP of business operations at Invisible Children.
Sarette's statement read: I have been a core member of the management staff at Invisible Children for five years. The fact that Invisible Children sees people as PEOPLE -- whether they be family, neighbors, or children in Central Africa -- is one of the reasons I finally came out as a gay man. Invisible Children's work concerns a human rights issue, and has attracted supporters, employees, and board members who otherwise sit on different sides of the aisle on many other issues. Invisible Children is not an anti-gay organization, and has in fact publicly spoken out against acts of violence on members of the GLBT community in Uganda. Hate in any form is counterproductive to our mission.