The man behind the online campaign to oust Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony told Oprah Winfrey he became a whole other person at the time he was filmed naked and belligerent in San Diego after his campaign’s success.
“It’s hard to describe to people who have never had an out-of-body experience, but it really wasn’t me,” Jason Russell told Winfrey in an interview aired Sunday on Winfrey’s OWN network. “That wasn’t me. That person on the street corner, ranting and raving and naked, is not me. That’s not who I am.”
Russell was arrested in March after San Diego police found him running through traffic in the nude. His wife later blamed the episode on stress brought on by the success of “KONY2012,” a campaign by his charity, Invisible Children, to pressure U.S. lawmakers into pursuing Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army.
The group’s 30-minute video detailing its efforts ended up getting than 80 million views on YouTube, but also attracted criticism toward Russell and Invisible Children for what journalist Musa Okwonga described as “unfortunate echoes of colonialism” in The Independent.
The group was also criticized for hiding ties to evangelical groups after video surfaced of Russell speaking at Liberty University. And Russell’s arrest was also lampooned on the animated show South Park.
An excerpt from Russell’s interview with Winfrey, as published by OWN before it aired, can be seen below.