Jason Russell | KONY 2012 | News

Questions About Sexuality, Anti-Gay Ties Follow 'Invisible Children' Co-Founder Jason Russell


Following the revelation that his group Invisible Children is financially tied to anti-gay Christian fundamentalist groups, co-founder Jason Russell is coming under scrutiny. Russell's apparent mental breakdown last week, in which he marched back and forth in a nude rant at a California intersection, has placed closer scrutiny on his personal life.

The International Business Times devotes a full article to internet discussion of Russell's sexuality:

Some who viewed the naked meltdown video posted comments questioning his sexual orientation. In fact, the top Google search under Jason Russell's name is now "Jason Russell gay."

TMZ obtained a close-up video of Russell's bizarre naked rant in the middle of a busy San Diego intersection, recorded by passerbys' cell phones. Though the TMZ video already was embedded in countless news articles and received copious hits, the video ticked up to more than 20,000 Facebook "likes" and more than 1,400 tweets on TMZ's website.

Numerous comments on TMZ's original posting assert that Russell is gay, and some are offensive and derogatory in nature. Others took to Twitter with questions about Jason Russell's sexuality as well as his religious beliefs.

Adam Feldman, a theater and cabaret critic for Time Out New York, tweeted: "Hard to watch this without thinking that Jason Russell is a flamingly gay guy trapped in a fundie world of self-hatred" with a link to a seminar Russell gave at Liberty University -- founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, no friend of gays  -- in November 2011.

Watch the Liberty University video, in which Russell talks about his dream of making Hollywood musicals, AFTER THE JUMP...

Chris Sarette, VP of Business Operations at Invisible Children, gave a statement to NY Mag last week about the reports of the group's ties to anti-gay organizations, and his own sexuality:

"I have been a core member of the management staff at Invisible Children for five years. The fact that Invisible Children sees people as PEOPLE – whether they be family, neighbors, or children in Central Africa – is one of the reasons I finally came out as a gay man. Invisible Children’s work concerns a human rights issue, and has attracted supporters, employees, and board members who otherwise sit on different sides of the aisle on many other issues. Invisible Children is not an anti-gay organization, and has in fact publicly spoken out against acts of violence on members of the GLBT community in Uganda. Hate in any form is counterproductive to our mission."

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  1. I don't know....If it quacks like a duck, then...

    Saw the video of his rant as well, he was very flamboyant with his gesticulations.

    Posted by: Bernie | Mar 20, 2012 7:39:09 PM

  2. The 'gay guy trapped in fundie cult' explanation works for me. Poor bastard.

    Posted by: Akrontru | Mar 20, 2012 7:45:55 PM

  3. ONLY AT LIBERTYLESS UNIVERSICRAP would an audience not see him as, basically, Carol Channing fighting for justice.

    Posted by: Bob | Mar 20, 2012 7:51:10 PM

  4. The guy does not ring true!

    Posted by: Vern Dufford | Mar 20, 2012 7:53:17 PM

  5. If he ain't...I ain't. But then, my Kansas upbringing kicks in...

    Come out, come out, wherever you are.

    Posted by: Mark | Mar 20, 2012 7:53:31 PM

  6. I don't like what the guy has done and I don't like his approach to the subject either. At first I thought it was hilarious that he got arrested but after watching that second video and realizing it was a real mental breakdown, I felt bad for him.

    I don't think we are in a position to judge his sexuality from a 45 second video. He was clearly out of his mind and I doubt this has anything to do with whatever feelings he may or may not be keeping inside. People have done worse while being drunk or under the influence and this clearly wasn't him.

    I don't believe in anyone who claims to have a "gaydar", because it's the same as claiming that you can read minds. Judging anyone on their mannerisms makes only for shallow assumptions.

    Posted by: Stranded | Mar 20, 2012 7:56:59 PM

  7. So wanting to make Hollywood musicals and ranting naked in public means you're gay.
    Got it. :-/

    Posted by: David | Mar 20, 2012 8:05:56 PM

  8. Gaydar does exist. And this is hardly a borderline case. He's not just gay, he's really, really gay.

    Also, I find him really hot. And yes, I do hate myself for it.

    Posted by: Hal | Mar 20, 2012 8:07:42 PM

  9. Has the IBT never read a comments section before? Wait until they discover YouTube ... and I thought gays were over meth meltdowns anyway. Sooo retro 90s. The cabaret critic needs to update her spectacles.

    Posted by: Marke B. | Mar 20, 2012 8:08:01 PM

  10. This is a good lesson for anyone who seeks the limelight - whether it be Herman Cain or Jason Russell. Once the white-hot glare of the media spotlight hits, one never knows what will be uncovered. Perhaps, it is an example of, "pride goeth before the fall."

    That said, while I hate to be superficial and judgmental, the guy's mannerisms and behavior scream, "gay." My gaydar - I hate that word - went off when I first saw him on the air. I am one of those who Googled, "Jason Russell gay." And after watching the close-up view of his street behavior, I mean....c'mon.

    On a larger level, it seems tragic that someone who started with good intentions - trying to get rid of a person on the ICC (International Criminal Court) most wanted list - has now become the object of media attention himself. It's a distraction from the good that was intended.

    Posted by: gr8guyca | Mar 20, 2012 8:12:03 PM

  11. This is painful - the closeup video and the other. Ya, he's probably gay, and closeted, but so what? He's lost it and the first full day of comments about his breakdown, (Saturday?) showed most of the readership here to be as cruel and condemning as any collection of outright bigots could be. So much for the "enlightened" and oppressed. We deserve what we get when we give the same.

    Posted by: uffda | Mar 20, 2012 8:18:56 PM

  12. I'd like to put my two cents in here. I actually worked for the organization several years ago, and know it to be full of compassionate and loving people, both straight and gay. As to where Jason falls on that line, I cannot speak, but I know him to be a committed father and an absolutely tireless advocate for bringing Joseph Kony to justice and peace to the region. This quality is nothing new.

    All I ask is that we suspend judging his purported sexuality for a moment and focus on the fact that he basically drove himself mad trying to stop the LRA. No doubt his antics were certifiably crazy, but I can attest to the fact that he is not an addict or a heavy drinker. I honestly believe he had a mental collapse. Let's not forget that his fame stems from a desire to help people living in Central Africa who have been terrorized by a rebel group for more than 25 years. Please focus upon the positive message and allow him the privacy and time he needs to recover.

    Posted by: Brice | Mar 20, 2012 8:26:45 PM

  13. Jason Russell had a "meltdown" in public & (social) media, going instantly viral. A psychotic episode is no joke & probably brought about from compounded stress, sleep deprivation, and maybe in Russell's case, a little hypomanic. He loved his new media stardom & wanted IC be the "Pixar of human rights stories." His words.

    Is he suppressing his sexuality, too? I don't know that or know him. His journey back to health will be his chance to get it right.

    Posted by: Marcito | Mar 20, 2012 8:29:50 PM

  14. I'm not as concerned with his politics as I am with his well being. It was obvious to me he was having a mental breakdown. If you've never seen someone mentally "lose it" then take the TMZ video as your introduction.

    I say this because I have lived downtown San Francisco (Russian Hill) all of my life and there have always been those people 'oft-kilter' that many would believe were high on drugs or alcohol when, in fact, they were simply mentally off-balance from the stress (no matter the what the cause) of their own lives.

    When I was 12, months after my mom died, I found life really sad/grey. Finding a reason to get up and face the day was not easy and I cried all the time. One morning I couldn't stop rubbing my palms together because these little white bumps itched. It wasn't a parasite or allergy it was hives and the result of stress. Stress from the inability to deal with the loss of the person I held most dear in my life. My dad was wise enough to get me to a therapist and once I understood, I came to terms with the loss and my life get brighter and happier.

    Jason Russell does not fit the pattern of just being an ass and running around naked in a "see me, touch me" egocentric way. The video clearly shows an individual who has stepped out of reality and can't find his way back. And for that we should offer a hand because no one, ever, wants to be at that point in life. Life is just too precious.

    Posted by: OS2Guy | Mar 20, 2012 8:32:05 PM

  15. way gay. Check yourself before you wreck youself.

    Posted by: castaway | Mar 20, 2012 8:39:19 PM

  16. Totally gay. Breakdown caused by pretending to be straight in a marriage that gets harder and harder to perform in day after day because he can't get it hard enough anymore. Common story. Sad.

    Posted by: No kidding | Mar 20, 2012 8:54:44 PM

  17. Two things immediately thing went through my head the second i saw the video: #1, Meth. #2 he is Gay. I do not know much about this guy, though I believe he has been hugely responsible for a lot of good, with all the work he has done. Thats great, I wish him only the best with all he does. However, I will continue to trust my instinct (or 'Gaydar')in regard to his "Melt-down".

    Posted by: Booka | Mar 20, 2012 8:58:47 PM

  18. Wow. My only hope is that he gets the help he needs and comes out on the other side a well adjusted and honest man whether he is gay or straight. Although my gaydar is pinging HIGH!. Some people are just not ready for the limelight.

    Posted by: Brian in Texas | Mar 20, 2012 9:18:53 PM

  19. I'd hit that in a NY second! He's smoking hot, regardless of his religious affiliation, his wife & kids, his penchant for psychotropic drugs, etc. Yummy.

    Posted by: Mario | Mar 20, 2012 9:26:48 PM

  20. Totally anecdotal, but the first time I saw him interviewed about this whole Kony campaign, I instantly thought, wow, he's gay...only for him to emphasize his wife. "Huh?" was my reaction. Beyond the point that the whole effort is questionable in its tactics, then the allegations of fundie involvement, and I realized it all fit together. Closet case, religion, white-man's burden approach to African problems, seen it all before...

    Posted by: SoLeftImRight | Mar 20, 2012 9:32:15 PM

  21. It's great to see gays using stereotypes to attack someone.

    Also, very impressed how people take someone suffering from an obvious psychotic or manic episode and turn that into repressed sexuality.

    Other than being a Christian, can anyone point to Russell having said or done anything homophobic? I've seen nothing.

    Instead of having compassion for someone who is obviously mentally ill, people are lashing out at him.

    How many kids are bullied because they seem different and are labeled to suit the insecurities of others? Isn't that what some of you are doing? Gay people talk a good game about being accepting and non-judgmental about non-gender conforming individuals but when confronted with someone who is different, many of you are quick to draw conclusions. Sad.

    Posted by: Alex | Mar 20, 2012 10:53:28 PM

  22. @Alex - Take it down a notch, most of the comments are not "attacks" on this closet case. An attack would be if the comments were about Newt, or someone else straight.

    And, being a Christian doesn't make you homophobic. And gay people can be judgmental and snarky? Have you seen RuPaul's Untucked?! =)

    Posted by: Hollywood, CA | Mar 20, 2012 11:08:29 PM

  23. Cute, naked and masturbation, all while in the middle of a public intersection. Sounds like Up Your Alley (Dore Alley) St. Fair in San Fran. material to me. Hmm, I can see him in a black leather harness. Whip that beoch. But still, not another Slick-It-Up, latex licking, yet Mo repressed Saint. My God they're popping out everywhere (like zombies only ALIVE!)

    Posted by: StevyD | Mar 20, 2012 11:09:32 PM

  24. I really have no idea who this guy is or why he went bonkers, but that fella was flaming out big time.

    Posted by: Tarc | Mar 20, 2012 11:14:19 PM

  25. First off, yeah he's totally gay. To accuse the LGBT of 'stereotyping' is just crap. Every stereotype holds some truth and this guy is a huge stereotype of a closeted man.

    More importantly, has he ever said or done anything homophobic? If not, we need to back off. If so, slam dunk him.

    Posted by: Michael | Mar 20, 2012 11:29:47 PM

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