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Jason Russell: Family links 'irrational things' he did to criticism

March 16, 2012 |  9:37 pm

Jason Russell

The wife of Invisible Children filmmaker Jason Russell issued a statement Friday night saying, "Yes, he did some irrational things brought on by extreme exhaustion and dehydration."

Russell, 33, was taken into custody Thursday afternoon by San Diego police after neighbors reported him running naked in the streets of the Pacific Beach neighborhood, pounding his fists on the sidewalk and shouting incoherently. Police took him to a mental health facility for observation.

A statement by Danica Russell and other members of the family suggested that the criticism of the Invisible Children video about African militia leader Joseph Kony may have contributed to Russell's bizarre behavior.

"... Because of how personal the film is, many of the attacks against it were also very personal and Jason took them very hard," said the statement. Among other things, critics said the video misstated the facts about the current level of violence in Uganda, Kony's current whereabouts and the strength of his militia forces.

"Jason has dedicated his adult life to this cause, leading to [the] KONY 2012 [video]," the family statement said. "We thought a few thousand people would see the film, but in less than a week, millions of people around the world saw it."

In an apparent comment to the nonprofit organization's many volunteers, the statement concludes: "On our end, the focus remains only on his health, and protecting our family. We'll take care of Jason, you take care of the work. The message of the film remains the same: stop at nothing."

The organization plans to distribute materials about Kony in several major cities, including San Diego, in April.

Russell is a native of El Cajon, where his parents run the Christian Youth Theater. A graduate of USC, he co-founded Invisible Children, which later moved into an office building in downtown San Diego.


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-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Jason Russell in 2010. Credit: Fox 5 San Diego