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."