March 18, 2012
The wife of Jason Russell, co-founder of the Invisible Children charity, has blamed her husband’s sudden hospitalisation on stress brought about by the extraordinary global attention garnered by the organisation’s work exposing Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony.
Russell, a devout evangelical Christian, was detained by police in San Diego at about 11.30am on Thursday after being spotted apparently nude in the street, screaming and interfering with traffic. Police said they had received several reports of him making sexual gestures or masturbating.
The development came at the end of a remarkable few weeks for Invisible Children and its trio of telegenic young American founders. After one of the charity’s videos about Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army went viral across the internet, the organisation found itself at the centre of massive global attention. While millions of supporters flocked to its cause, especially over social media websites, the group also faced a torrent of criticism from aid groups, academics and media figures.
Russell’s wife, Danica, issued a statement to American TV network NBC in which she said the pressure had simply become too much for her husband. “We thought a few thousand people would see the film, but in less than a week millions of people around the world saw it. 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 said.
‘Kony 2012’ director not on drugs or drinking, family says
March 18, 2012
Jason Russell, director of a documentary about a notorious Ugandan warlord that went viral, does not have a drinking or drug problem, according to his family, after the filmmaker was seen running through the streets of San Diego in his underwear.
“Let us say upfront that Jason has never had a substance abuse or drinking problem, and this episode wasn’t caused by either of those things,” the Russell family statement said. “But yes, he did some irrational things brought on by extreme exhaustion and dehydration. On our end, the focus remains only on his health and protecting our family.”