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One of the filmmakers behind the viral Kony 2012 film, Jason Russell, was hospitalised following alleged irrational behaviour.
A man was found in his underwear running through the streets of San Diego on Thursday morning, screaming and acting irrationally. San Diego police declined to release the identity of the 33-year-old man, but CNN reports that an official familiar with the case confirmed him to be Russell. TMZ released a video of a man the site claims to be Russell, fully naked and pounding on the pavement. Warning, the video contains explicit material.
Police confirmed that at 11:28AM on Thursday morning, various 911 calls reported a man in his underwear screaming and disrupting traffic. Police confirmed that the man was not arrested, but taken to a local medical facility.
Ben Keesey, the group’s chief executive, issued a statement Friday confirming that Russell was receiving medical care for “exhaustion, dehydration and malnutrition.”
“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,” Keesey said.
The 30 minute Kony 2012 film by the San Diego based non-profit organisation, Invisible Children, rocketed to fame and currently stands at over 80m views since its release on 5 March and has brought a lot of focus on the organisation. It also drew criticism over its finances and an oversimplification of the situation in Uganda. The film shines a spotlight on Joseph Kony, who has operated in central Africa for two decades and is wanted for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court.
According to Russell’s family, the filmmaker has taken criticisms over the film personally and does not have a drug or drinking problem. They released the following statement:
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. 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. 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.