Jason Russell, co-founder of non-profit Invisible Children and director of "Kony 2012" viral video campaign, poses in New York, March 9, 2012.
Credits: REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
The star and director of the viral YouTube video Kony 2012 was suffering from severe malnutrition and dehydration when he was arrested Thursday night for allegedly being drunk and masturbating in public, his charity says.
According to NBC and TMZ, Jason Russell, 33, was detained in Pacific Beach, Calif., at 11:30 a.m. for being drunk, publicly masturbating and vandalizing cars.
NBC reported that police responded to a call about a man in "various stages of undress." The San Diego Police Department did not immediately respond to QMI Agency's request for comment.
The CEO of Invisible Children, the charity Russell co-founded, said Russell was sick at the time.
"Jason Russell was unfortunately hospitalized yesterday suffering from exhaustion, dehydration, and malnutrition. 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," said Ben Keesey in a statement.
Russell's Invisible Children, which calls for the arrest of Joseph Kony, the fugitive rebel leader of a Ugandan militia group known for using child soldiers, has quickly become a media sensation, netting more than 79 million views since it was posted on March 5.
But the video has also faced a huge amount of backlash from Ugandans and African policy experts for oversimplifying a complex issue, leaving Africans out of the debate and for calling a U.S. military invention that could cost civilian lives.
On its website, Invisible Children said his "sparks of creative intelligence and insanity have propelled IC to redefine the concept of humanitarian work, offering new life to old hope."
"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," said Keesy.