No charges over Kony2012 director's naked meltdown in street

Wife of film-maker denies drink or drugs were involved in his mental breakdown

Jason Russell, a film-maker and activist behind the viral sensation Kony2012, will probably escape charges after running naked through the streets of San Diego last week, police said yesterday.

Mr Russell's family said the bizarre incident was the result of a mental breakdown, brought on by exhaustion and a barrage of public attacks against him and his video demanding the arrest of the Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony.

"We thought a few thousand people would see the film but in less than a week millions of people ... saw it," said Mr Russell's wife, Danica. "While that attention was great for raising awareness about Joseph Kony, it also brought a lot of attention to Jason and, because of how personal the film is, many of the attacks against it were also very personal, and Jason took them very hard."

Mr Russell was seen running around a busy crossroads in San Diego clad only in his underwear, shouting and gesticulating. He then removed his underpants and beat his fists on the pavement before being restrained by police and passers-by. Police said some onlookers thought he had vandalised cars and masturbated. He has been under psychiatric observation since last week. His family said there was no suggestion that drink or drugs were involved.

Footage of the incident uploaded on to the gossip website TMZ is also now a viral sensation, but Mr Russell's wife and staff at his charity, Invisible Children, insisted their campaigns would continue while he deals with his health. "We will take care of Jason, you take care of the work," Mrs Russell said. "The message of the film remains the same: stop at nothing."

Mr Russell's 29-minute video is aimed at enlisting support for military efforts to find and arrest Kony, whose decades-old reign of terror in central Africa involved rape, murder and the abduction of children to be used as boy soldiers or as sex slaves. Kony is the most-wanted person on the International Criminal Court's list of suspected war criminals.

For most of the past decade, Mr Russell has been campaigning for Western intervention to speed Kony's arrest, and Invisible Children has provided aid to villages devastated by war in central Africa. His charity is gearing up for a day of protest next month, in which it aims to blanket cities around the world in Kony2012 stickers and posters.

The video passed 82 million views on YouTube yesterday, two weeks after it was first uploaded by Invisible Children. But it has also generated a backlash from people who say it paints a simplistic or even distorted picture of the current situation in central Africa.

After founding his Lord's Resistance Army in the 1980s, Kony terrorised large parts of Uganda but his reign of terror has subsided since 2005 and he is now believed to command only a few hundred followers, scattered in remote jungle hideouts in neighbouring countries.

The Ugandan government took to YouTube to redress what it said was an imbalanced picture of the country given by Mr Russell's film. "The Kony 2012 campaign fails to make one crucial point clear: Joseph Kony is not in Uganda," said Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi.

News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Sport
sportVan Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
filmReview: Sometimes the immersive experience was so good it blurred the line between fiction and reality
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Environment
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
News
people
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

VB.Net Developer - £40k - Surrey - WANTED ASAP

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .Mid Level V...

Digitakl Business Analyst, Slough

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Competitive Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Dig...

Mechanical Estimator: Nuclear Energy - Sellafield

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Car, Medical, Fuel + More!: Progressive Recruitmen...

Dynamics NAV Techno-Functional Consultant

£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: An absolutely o...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices