The co-head of a viral online campaign to hunt down Ugandan guerrilla leader Joseph Kony has been hospitalized after being found semi-naked in the street, masturbating, police and his boss said on Friday.
The head of Invisible Children, the organizers of the Internet campaign sensation, said Jason Russell was receiving medical care for “exhaustion, dehydration and malnutrition.”
San Diego Police Department spokeswoman Andra Brown said officers detained a 33-year-old man on Thursday and took him to a medical facility after passers-by reported him in the street in the southern Californian city.
“Officers responded to a radio call to check the welfare of an individual who was said to be running in the street, interfering with traffic, screaming; one person said that he was naked and masturbating,” she said.
“Other people said that he was interfering with traffic, banging on the sidewalk, that sort of thing. We have reports of being in various states of undress, and neighbors in the area were concerned about him.”
While declining to identify him by name, she said: “Officers contacted the 33-year-old white male ... we detained him and transported [him] to a local medical facility for further evaluation and treatment.”
The head of Invisible Children, Ben Keesey, told the TMZ celebrity Web site that Russell was “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,” he said.
“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,” he said, asking for privacy at “this difficult time.”
About 80 million people have so far watched the 30-minute YouTube video which seeks to focus attention on tracking down Kony, the fugitive head of the Lord’s Resistance Army rebel group.