TMZ and KFMB TV, the local CBS affiliate in San Diego, report that Jason Russell, 33, co-founder of Invisible Children and the documentary "Kony 2012" exposing the brutal African warlord Joseph Kony as using children as soldiers or sex slaves, was detained by San Diego police for lewd behavior late Thursday. Witnesses told police he was fondling himself, vandalizing cars and appeared drunk while engaging in bizarre behavior in Pacific Beach. Police would not confirm the accounts of masturbation initially reported by the media. Russell was taken to a local hospital for evaluation.
Invisible Children co-founder Jason Russell
'Kony 2012? has become an Internet sensation but questions have been raised about Invisible Children's finances - to which they respond here - and Right Wing Watch notes that Russell has strong ties to the evangelical religious right. (See 'Kony 2012? on YouTube here.)
A statement from Invisible Children, the San Diego-based agency that produced the film, blamed the incident on "exhaustion, dehydration and malnutrition."
"Jason Russell was unfortunately hospitalized yesterday suffering from exhaustion, dehydration and malnutrition," according to the statement. "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."
Video of the incident after the break.