Jason Russell, the filmmaker whose movie Kony 2012 went viral and drew attention to the atrocities committed by Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony, is opening up for the first time about his epic meltdown last March during which he was caught on tape bizarrely parading around a San Diego street corner in his underwear.
Russell told Oprah Winfrey on last night’s episode of Oprah’s Next Chapter that he doesn’t remember parts of the incident when he watches in on tape. He does remember repeatedly slapping his hands on the ground so hard that it dented his ring, as well as “talking to myself, ranting, raving, talking about good vs. evil, god and the devil. I mean it was just very out of control.”
When Oprah asked him about reports that he allegedly masturbated during the meltdown and about reports that he was also breaking into cars, Russell said he doesn’t recall those things happening, although he does remember “flipping off cars” and said people later told him that he stopped traffic when he laid down in the middle of the street.
“It’s hard to explain, if people have never had an out-of-body experience, but it really wasn’t me,” he explained. “That person on the street corner – ranting and raving and naked – is not me, that’s not who I am.” He added: “I look at that video and I think ‘how sad for him.’”
After the breakdown – which was attributed to a “psychotic break” brought on by stress after the worldwide success of Kony 2012 - Russell spent time in a mental health clinic to recover.
The filmmaker teamed up with the non-profit organization Invisible Children to make a new video, Move, which seeks to mobilize supporters to keep pushing for Joseph Kony be found and brought to justice.