‘Kony 2012’ Director Hospitalized
(CNN) — The director of a documentary about a notorious Ugandan warlord that went viral after its release this month was picked up by police Thursday in San Diego after several people reported a man running through the streets in his underwear, screaming, sources said Friday.
While San Diego police declined to provide the identity of the 33-year-old man, an official familiar with the case confirmed him to be Jason Russell.
Police said the man, who 911 callers said was interfering with traffic and acting irrationally, was not arrested and was transported to a local medical facility.
Russell is one of the founders of the San Diego-based nonprofit group Invisible Children, which produced the half-hour film about warlord Joseph Kony. “Kony 2012” skyrocketed to popularity on YouTube, propelled by thousands of posts on Twitter and Facebook, garnering nearly 80 million views since its March 5 release.
Ben Keesey, the group’s chief executive, issued a statement Friday confirming that Russell was hospitalized 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 popularity of the film led to a flurry of media appearances for Russell and his fellow Invisible Children co-founders and prompted scrutiny from some who argued that the social media frenzy was too little, too late.
The group has said it hopes the film and other efforts will make Kony a household name and drum up international support to halt killings, rapes, abuses and abductions committed by his group, the Lord’s Resistance Army, in central Africa.
Kony has operated in central Africa for two decades and is wanted for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court. In October, the United States sent 100 combat-equipped troops on a mission to kill or capture Kony.
— CNN’s Rachel Wells contributed to this report.