October 08, 2012 6:10am PT by Erin Carlson
'Kony 2012' Creator Jason Russell Addresses Nude Breakdown on 'Oprah's Next Chapter' (Video)
Months after his public breakdown, Kony 2012 director Jason Russell recounted his "out of body experience" on Sunday's edition of Oprah's Next Chapter.
Russell, co-founder of the organization Invisible Children, helmed the half-hour documentary Kony 2012, which urged action against Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony and went internet-viral last spring with 100-plus million views in just one week. He was detained March 15 in San Diego for allegedly masturbating in public and vandalizing cars, with several people reporting a man running along a street in his underwear and screaming.
Video of the incident spread online, showing Russell -- completely naked -- behaving erratically and slapping the sidewalk on a street corner.
"There were rumors of masturbation, but no one who was there ever said that that was happening," he told Oprah Winfrey, adding: "I'm naked so it's not a far extension of imagination that that would be happening but, no, I don't remember any of that, and no one we knew there said that I was. I don't remember anything except like a half-second. I don't."
He said he does recall, however, "why I left the backyard. I thought, 'I have to get to New York in the next 12 hours.' That's what I thought. 'Because I have to stop the war.' So I ran out to the front and I think I was trying to ask cars to take me to the airport. In my underwear."
After the fact, Russell's family issued a statement saying that drugs and alcohol didn't play a role in his meltdown, which was instead a result of "extreme exhaustion, stress and dehydration" from the sudden fame Russell had been experiencing at the time.
Russell was taken to a mental health clinic, where it took two weeks for him to get back to normal, he said, recalling of the aftermath of his "out of body experience": "I was so confused. I thought people were trying to kill me." Doctors said he suffered a psychotic break.
When Winfrey asked the married filmmaker about rumors he's gay ("that you were running in the streets nude because you were gay"), he laughed, saying: "I grew up in theater, my parents started a large children's theater organization, so I am animated, I am ... theatrical. That's me by nature. So when you take me, times it by ten ... ."
Russell also appeared on NBC's Today show Monday.
Watch an excerpt of his Oprah's Next Chapter sitdown below.