Courtesy of Twitter, via @MrMason251
Correction: This article was written at 1:30 p.m. EST on Sunday, March 18. Since then, it has been clarified that Jason Russell was not arrested, but rather detained. There are no charges pending against him.
Jason Russell, founder of Invisible Children and director of the Kony 2012 viral video, was arrested Thursday in San Diego for reportedly masturbating in public, vandalizing cars and public drunkenness, reported TMZ.
San Diego police told NBC7 that they had received numerous calls around 11:30 a.m. reporting a man in various stages of undress. Jason Russell was reportedly dancing at the intersection of Ingraham and Riviera streets wearing speedo-like underwear. He eventually stripped naked and began making sexual gestures.
Officers detained [Russell] and transferred him to a local medical facility for further evaluation and treatment, police said. He was reportedly calm when apprehended, but appeared drunk.
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Russell is being held in a psychiatric ward, the Daily Mail, for up to three days to confirm he is not a danger to himself or to others.
An evangelical Christian, he has a wife and two children and has said he wants to have nine more kids, according to TMZ. Russell is described by the Invisible Children charity as our grand storyteller and dreamer.
The bizarre naked meltdown was caught on video, which is now spreading on the Internet as more and more hear of the Kony 2012 director's breakdown.
Response to Naked Meltdown
The CEO of Invisible Children, Ben Keesey, told TMZ, Jason Russell was unfortunately hospitalized yesterday suffering from exhaustion, dehydration, and malnutrition.
The statement continued, He is now receiving medical care and is focused on getting better. The past two weeks have taken a severe emotional toll on all of us, Jason especially, and that toll manifested itself in an unfortunate incident yesterday.
Jason's passion and his work have done so much to help so many, and we are 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.
Jason Russell's wife, Danica Russell, responded to her husband's irrational behavior, blaming it on the criticism and unexpected attention his Kony 2012 video has received.
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. 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 her husband has any drinking 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.
Kony 2012 Video Public Criticism
With Jason Russell's naked meltdown video circulating on the Internet, it is unlikely that anyone will back off criticism of the Invisible Children organization, which skeptics have blasted for its questionable tactics and unclear goals. The charity has been criticized for misuse of funds, exaggerated claims and more.
The Stop Kony mission and the Kony 2012 video directed by Jason Russell both achieved viral status last week after the likes of Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, Nicole Richie, Jessie J and Stephen Fry -- who together have more than 35 million followers -- set out on a social media campaign to shed light on the plight of the invisible children of Uganda. Celebrities retweeted the hashtags #StopKony and #Kony2012 to spread the word.
Joseph Kony leads the Lord's Resistance Army, a feared and brutal insurgency that fought for years to overthrow the Ugandan government but has been driven into neighboring countries. Kony and his army continue to threaten regional stability and civilian populations.
The Stop Kony mission was established by the Invisible Children organization. The 30-minute documentary Kony 2012, made by Invisible Children and directed by Jason Russell calls for an international effort to arrest Joseph Kony, disarm the LRA and save the invisible children. We seek to rebuild schools, educate future leaders and provide jobs in northern Uganda. We are the motivated misfits and masses redefining what it means to be an activist, reads a statement on the Invisible Children Web site.
But Invisible Children has been accused of misuse of charitable funding, exaggerated claims and questionable goals.
The Council on Foreign Relations has critiqued Invisible Children and other organizations like it. In their campaigns, such organizations have manipulated facts for strategic purposes, exaggerating the scale of LRA abductions and murders and emphasizing the LRA's use of innocent children as soldiers, and portraying Kony -- a brutal man, to be sure -- as uniquely awful, a Kurtz-like embodiment of evil. They rarely refer to the Ugandan atrocities or those of Sudan's People's Liberation Army, such as attacks against civilians or looting of civilian homes and businesses, or the complicated regional politics fueling the conflict.
Chris Blattman made a pointed assessment of Invisible Children's filming, saying: The new IC film clip feels much the same, laced with more macho bravado. The movie feels like it's about the filmmakers, and not the cause. There might be something to the argument that American teenagers are more likely to relate to an issue through the eyes of a peer. That's the argument that was made after the first film. It's not entirely convincing, especially given the distinctly non-teenage political influence IC now has.
There's also something inherently misleading, naive, maybe even dangerous, about the idea of rescuing children or saving of Africa. It's often not an accidental choice of words, even if it's unwitting. It hints uncomfortably of the White Man's Burden. Worse, sometimes it does more than hint. The savior attitude is pervasive in advocacy, and it inevitably shapes programming. Usually misconceived programming. The saving attitude pervades too many aid failures, not to mention military interventions. The list is long.
Grant Oyston, a sociology and political science student at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Canada, posted a detailed explanation of his disapproval of the Kony 2012 campaign, citing practices by Invisible Children such as misuse of charitable funds and its advocacy of outside military intervention.
Oyston says that last year Invisible Children spent more than $8.5 million, with only 32 percent going to direct services. Much of the money reportedly went to staff salaries, travel, transport and film production. Charity Navigator rates Invisible Children's accountability and transparency as two out of four stars because it lacks an external audit committee. Oyston also said that the organization's main goal seems to be filmmaking and viral promotion, rather than its proclaimed cause.
Another issue Oyston noted with the Kony 2012 campaign was the group's emphasis on military intervention.
The group is in favour of direct military intervention, and their money supports the Ugandan government's army and various other military forces. Here's a photo of the founders of Invisible Children posing with weapons and personnel of the Sudan People's Liberation Army. Both the Ugandan army and Sudan People's Liberation Army are riddled with accusations of rape and looting, but Invisible Children defends them, arguing that the Ugandan army is 'better equipped than that of any of the other affected countries,' although Kony is no longer active in Uganda and hasn't been since 2006 by their own admission. These books each refer to the rape and sexual assault that are perennial issues with the UPDF, the military group Invisible Children is defending.
View Jason Russell's bizarre naked meltdown video below, courtesy of TMZ.