(Belated) WTF Friday, 10/1/2012, Public Breakdown Edition

Although we were not fans of the Kony 2012 video, Kate and I were both saddened by the news of Jason Russell’s very public breakdown. Mental illness is no joke, and we had nothing but sympathy for him and his family. We, like many of the other bloggers who were critical of the video’s substance, refrained from writing about Russell’s episode, because we consider the incident a private matter.

Invisible Children apparently disagrees, however: Russell plans to “break his silence” about that incident. In an interview with Oprah. On national TV. On October 7th. Which just happens to be the date on which Invisible Children will release its new video, “Move.”


(H/T Jezebel.)

Amanda Taub


  1. Hardly surprising. Jason Russell is all about the publicity. Personally, I (along with everyone else) followed the whole sad campaign and public “breakdown” and I don’t buy it for a second. I do work with people that work with breakdown/depression/mental illness etc etc – and it pretty much never involves publicly ranting – Naked no less! on a street corner in the middle of a busy street (his backyard too boring I suppose). But of course – in the middle of the day – if you are into the fame as Mr Russell is (search his background…before IC) you can bet he was thinking “oh look there’s a camera! How convenient..as the famous saying goes – “no publicity is bad publicity”. Come on, I thought you guys were brighter than this? Mental illness is Not a joke it is a serious issue and I can tell you it does Not (but don’t take my word for it – do some research) suddenly manifest itself as a quick naked rant that happens to coincide with huge publicity over a week or so. But, hey – if that’s the case, I guess we can see all the X-factor contestants caving into the pressure, the publicity, the fame/notoriety and we can all look forward to group naked rants on the street (ensuring they are int the middle of the day for maximum coverage and only last 48 hours – wouldn’t want to compare these to the millions of people dealing with actual issues – which would render them too depressed/sad/confused etc to do a public naked rant.

    Come on. You guys are lawyers! Do your research on mental illness. This man is a fraud through and though. You have bought into it hook, line and sinker.

    • @grover, that’s just dumb. That sort of publicity was the last think the Kony campaign needed.

      @John, I agree. I don’t see anything gross about this. Yeah, he’s timed it to make the most of it – so what?

      Amanda, I don’t know whether it was you or Kate, but I recall some very uncharitable comments about Russell’s breakdown coming from the WR camp. Trying to take the moral high-ground while simultaneously serving him a back-hander isn’t a good look.

    • You are so wrong for someone who claims to know so much about mental illness. I have personal experience, as I have many family members that have been afflicted with mental illness. While there is a genetic predisposition to mental illness, there are certain things that trigger the illness; such as trauma, drug or alcohol abuse, extreme emotional stress, etc… You say “it pretty much never involves public ranting”, but that is a very strong statement to make considering you also say you work with people that work with… To make such a statement you should at least speak from personal, first hand experience. I have a cousin that was hauled off a busy Ontario street when someone reported her ranting and raving about the devil and God at passing vehicles while holding her baby in her arms. So, never say never. Jason Russel’s breakdown is no act. Who, in their right state of mind would even think to act this way? It may be hard for people to believe what an ill mind can make a person do, but ignorance isn’t exactly flattering either! Don’t claim to be educated on mental illness just because you work with people who work with people…

  2. I actually agree that it’s kind of “gross” (would choose a different word, but same basic idea). I am strongly in favor of people speaking out about their problems or personal situations–good on them. But to time it on the day of release of another movie, especially given our prior that the individual and organization are basically attention whores, makes this a fairly transparent ploy for media attention. Which they’ll probably get, though hopefully not as much as with the Kony video itself.

    • Media attention for what, though? Helping highlight the atrocities of the LRA? We’re talking about an organization that does remarkable rehabilitation and protection work in Uganda and the DRC. It’s not like they are timing the interview to promote the new Spider Man movie.

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