Jason Russell Detained After Meltdown

Jason Russell Detained After Meltdown
Jason Russell Detained After Meltdown, A co-founder of the group that produced a popular online video about fugitive African rebel leader Joseph Kony was detained by police in San Diego and hospitalized after “exhibiting bizarre behavior” while dressed only in his underwear, according to police.

Jason Russell, 33 years old, was detained Thursday afternoon in the Pacific Beach area after he was found having “kind of a meltdown,” according to San Diego police officer Thomas Broxtermann.

Mr. Broxtermann said police responded to multiple complaints variously describing a white male “running around the street in his underwear,” “naked and masturbating and screaming” and “banging his hands on the ground and screaming incoherently.” The calls complaining began around 11:30 am.

Mr. Russell was handcuffed and taken to a Kaiser Permanente medical facility for a mental-health evaluation, Mr. Broxtermann said, adding that he wasn’t intoxicated and wasn’t criminally charged.

In a statement released Friday, Ben Keesey—chief executive of Invisible Children Inc., the San Diego-based nonprofit organization that produced “Kony 2012”—described the episode involving Mr. Russell as “an unfortunate incident.”

“Jason Russell was unfortunately hospitalized yesterday suffering from exhaustion, dehydration and malnutrition,” Mr. Keesey said in the statement. “The past two weeks have taken a severe emotional toll on all of us, Jason especially.”

“Kony 2012” focuses on the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, which is accused of recruiting children into sexual slavery and using them to wage a violent campaign to topple Uganda’s government.

Mr. Russell directed and narrated the video, in which he also appears along with his toddler son.

Since it was released earlier this month, the video has become the fastest-growing viral phenomenon in Web history, with more than 137.2 million views as of Thursday. But it has also been controversial, sparking criticism that it is out of date and insensitive to victims in the conflict.

Invisible Children executives have said the video is aimed at raising awareness among a young demographic unfamiliar with Mr. Kony’s alleged crimes.

Mr. Russell’s biography on Invisible Children’s website describes him as “our grand storyteller and dreamer,” according to a cached version of the page, which was not functioning Friday.

He “believes wholeheartedly in magic and the impossible,” according to the biography. “Already a proud papa to Gavin Danger and Everley Darling, Jason wants to have nine more children with his beautiful wife Danica’ the girl who has been his best friend for over 23 years.”


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