Wednesday, March 21, 2012
"Kony 2012'' filmmaker Jason Russell was suffering from extreme exhaustion, stress and dehydration when he embarked on a bizarre rant in his underwear on a San Diego street corner earlier this month, his family said today.
The condition is known as reactive psychosis, according to a statement released this morning by Russell's wife, Danica Russell, on behalf the family.
"Though new to us, the doctors say this is a common experience given the great mental, emotional and physical shock his body has gone through in these last two weeks,'' wrote Danica. "Even for us, it's hard to understand the sudden transition from relative anonymity to worldwide attention -- both raves and ridicules, in a matter of days.''
The 33-year-old Russell's 30-minute video "Kony 2012'' was an instant viral sensation, logging more than 96 million views since it was posted on YouTube March 5. It is about how Joseph Kony impresses Ugandan youths into his Lord's Resistance Army militia and how the soldiers sexually exploit young girls.
The video is an extension of Russell's longtime work as founder of the San Diego-based nonprofit Invisible Children. The group has sought to bring attention to the plight of Ugandan children for about eight years.
About 11:30 a.m. Thursday, San Diego police were called to the corner of Ingraham Street and Riviera Drive in San Diego's Pacific Beach neighborhood. Police said they found Russell running back-and-forth in various stages of undress and screaming. He was taken to a mental health facility for evaluation but not arrested.
Russell has been hospitalized since the incident. He will remain hospitalized for a number of weeks, according to his wife.
"Jason will get better. He has a long way to go, but we are confident that he will make a full recovery,'' she wrote.