‘Kony 2012’ Filmmaker Detained for Alleged Public Masturbation (Updated)

San Diego police said Jason Russell, a co-founder of Invisible Children, is being treated at a medical facility; Invisible Children blames exhaustion

Last Updated: March 17, 2012 @ 1:34 PM

Updated: 3 p.m. PT

"Kony 2012" filmmaker Jason Russell was detained in San Diego Thursday for public nudity, alleged public masturbation and suspicion of vandalism, according to the San Diego Police Department.

Russell, a co-founder of non-profit group Invisible Children, was then transferred to a medical facility where he is currently being treated.

"At this time, no criminal charges are pending because we believe that his irrational and bizarre behavior was more of a medical matter," Lt. Andra Brown told TheWrap. 

At an earlier press conference, Lt. Brown said Russell "was no problem for the police department however, during the evaluation we learned that we probably needed to take care of him."

Also read: 'Kony 2012': Can a YouTube Video Stop an International Child-Killer?

The police department responded to a report late Thursday morning claiming that Rusell was running naked in the streets, interfering with traffic and masturbating. There were also reports of vandalism.

Brown said the police found Russell in his underwear at the corner of Ingraham Street and Riviera Road in the Pacific Beach neighborhood of San Diego. However, there was no evidence of traffic collisions, vandalism or masturbation. 

TMZ claims it has obtained a video of Russell "in the midst of his naked meltdown" at the street corner.

Also read: Jon Stewart on Kony: Media Annoyed It Took a Video to Make People Listen (Video)

Invisible Children CEO Ben Keesey has released a statement on Russell's arrest, blaming dehydration, exhaustion and malnutrition for his fellow co-founder's condition.

"Jason Russell was unfortunately hospitalized yesterday suffering from exhaustion, dehydration, and malnutrition," Keesey said. "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," the statement continued. "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.”

Russell is not only a co-founder of Invisible Children, the non-profit organization behind the "Kony 2012" video, but the director of the video that has brought attention to the group. 

“Kony 2012” has upwards of 80 million views on YouTube and has drawn the support of celebrities like Oprah and Rihanna.

The group, which made the video to bring attention to Ugandan guerilla leader Joseph Kony, has been criticized for a lack of transparency and for oversimplifying the problems of Central Africa. It has since released a video, featuring Keesey, responding to those claims.

Russell is described on the group’s website as its “grand storyteller and dreamer” who “admires Oprah, Bono, Steven Spielberg, Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Baz Luhrmann, and Dan Eldon.”

A graduate of USC Film School, he has a wife and two kids. He wants to have nine more kids, according to the Invisible Children website.