Perhaps by now you’ve heard about the trouble Invisible Children founder Jason Russell found himself in last week: Amidst all the controversy and criticism surrounding his “Kony 2012″ video, Russell was detained on Friday, after witnesses spotted him naked and masturbating on a street corner in downtown San Diego in the middle of the day.
Russell was taken into custody and placed in an involuntary 5150 mental health hold (the same one Britney Spears was placed in) after several callers reported him dancing and pounding his fists on the ground, beating on cars, screaming and yelling incoherently. No charges have been filed against him.
Given the spate of criticism and discussion around Invisible Children and the KONY campaign, we thought we’d see what we could find out about Russell himself.
1. Invisible Children is thus far standing behind him. On Friday, after word of his arrest spread, they released the following statement:
“Jason Russell was unfortunately hospitalized yesterday suffering from exhaustion, dehydration, and malnutrition. 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.”
2. His wife Danica Russell is standing behind him, too. She claims he has “never had a substance abuse or drinking problem, and this episode wasn’t caused by either of those things. … 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 in a statement.
3. She also claims that she and Jason had no idea the film was going to become a worldwide sensation. Despite the fact that the film’s stated goal is to become a worldwide sensation. “Jason has dedicated his adult life to this cause, leading to [the] KONY 2012 [video]. …We thought a few thousand people would see the film, but in less than a week, millions of people around the world saw it.”
4. He has two kids. Besides his son, named Gavin Danger (seriously) who was featured heavily in the “Kony 2012″ video, he has a daughter named Everly Darling.
5. He comes from a religious Christian background. His parents run San Diego’s Christian Youth Theater.
6. He has a rather grandiose vision of himself. When asked who his biggest hero is, he replied, “If Oprah, Steven Spielberg and Bono had a baby, I would be that baby.”
7. Actually, he sounds a lot like Kanye. When asked what he wants to do with his future, he replied. “I am going to help end the longest running war in Africa, get Joseph Kony arrested & redefine international justice. Then I am going to direct a Hollywood musical. Then I am going to study theology & literature in Oxford, England, and then move to New York to start ‘The Academy’ – which will be a school where the best creative young minds in the world attend.”
8. This is his bio on the pages of Invisible Children. Enjoy.
Jason “Radical” Russell is a co-founder of Invisible Children, as well as our grand storyteller and dreamer. His sparks of creative intelligence and insanity have propelled IC to redefine the concept of humanitarian work, offering new life to old hope. A filmmaker by trade, Jason graduated from the University of Southern California’s film school with a degree in Cinema Production. He admires Oprah, Bono, Steven Spielberg, Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Baz Luhrmann, and Dan Eldon and believes wholeheartedly in magic and the impossible. 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.