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Jason Russell, the director of the Kony 2012 video and the co-founder of Invisible Children, was detained by San Diego police Thursday for bizarre behavior, although they did not arrest him. His wife, Danica Russell, released a statement Friday blaming exhaustion for what she called his “irrational” behavior.
According to NBC San Diego, said that Russell was detained for allegedly masturbating in public and vandalizing cars, the San Diego Police Department said. The SDPD also said that he seemed to be under the influence of a something, but did not specify what. "Due to the nature of the detention, he was not arrested. During the evaluation we learned we probably needed to take him to a medical facility because of statements he was saying,” SDPD Lt. Andra Brown told the media.
TMZ actually posted a video of what appears to be the incident described by police.
Police added that the 33-year-old was described as only wearing his underwear and that people were trying to calm him down. When they arrived, Russell was completely cooperative with police and an SDPD spokesperson said that there will likely be no criminal charges because this is more of a medical situation.
Invisible Children CEO Ben Keesy later issued a statement on the organization’s blog Friday, acknowledging that Russell was hospitalized “... yesterday suffering from exhaustion, dehydration, and malnutrition. He is now receiving medical care and is focused on getting better.” Keesy added that, since the Kony 2012 video became an Internet sensation, “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.”
Keesy said that the organization is “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.”
MSNBC reports that wife Danica released a statement noting that Russell has been overwhelmed by the publicity the 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...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,” she said.
Danica denied that Russell had drinking or substance abuse problems, blaming the “irrational things” he did on “extreme exhaustion and dehydration.”
Russell’s half-hour documentary on Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, has received over 80 million views as of Saturday. Russell has made countless media appearances since the video went live on March 5. He also appears in the video, telling his infant son about how Kony uses young boys as soldiers and turns young girls into sex slaves.