Kony 2012 Director Says It’s Not About Money While Campaign Makes Millions
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Jason Russell, the douchebag with a Messiah complex co-founder of non-profit Invisible Children and director of the now infamous "Kony 2012" viral video campaign, attempted to explain why his campaign is an easy solution to world peace, etc., in a number of interviews last night and this morning. His explanations are as overly simplistic as his mission, and his financial clarifications are contradictory.
On Today, Ann Curry asked Russell how he knew the Kony 2012 video wasn't an example of "slacktivism" — in other words, do 64 million views and counting necessarily transfer into direct aid to Ugandan Children? Russell responded by saying the over half a million action kits ordered — to the tune of $30 each — prove that people are "constantly demanding, asking, what are we doing now?"
"In math you don't start with calculus, or algebra. There's complicated issues in the world, we know that ... Kony's not. He's 1 plus 1. We can all agree with that. We can all agree, together, we're going to stop him."
So many action kits have been ordered, in fact, that the website now warns supporters who have ordered the propaganda that they might not receive anything until next month. Those new to the cause can download the printable content from the kit for free or "consider purchasing" another one of Invisible Children's products that, according to the website, will make people think "you're an advocate of awesome." (Maybe a $10 Kony bracelet, the "ultimate accessory"?)
So, let me get this straight. We know Kony 2012 is legit because so much money is rolling in. So then why did he tell Lawrence O'Donnell on The Last Word that it's not about the money at all? He said:
Hold up. His campaign isn't "slactivism" because the awareness translates into money, but the campaign isn't about the money, it's about awareness? It's misleading for Russell to imply the store is closed because it's not; you can still buy certain goods, and you can still donate. They just ran out of posters.
We've written about Invisible Children's dubious finances — and posted their infographic, which is almost laughably misleading — but the Guardian has a nice breakdown in case you need a reminder that Invisible Children is about the money:
How does Invisible Children plan on spending the money they've raised from the Kony 2012 video? Russell hasn't said (and oddly, no interviewer asked him). Because he's all about the cause, bro. He actually told GOOD magazine that his ultimate goal is to "disseminate" the Kony ideaology "to a hungry, millennial, global-minded youth" and that "Our films weren't made to be scrutinized by the Guardian."
The internet makes everything from shopping to socializing easier; there's no reason it shouldn't facilitate charity. But you can't "like" Uganda or "troll" Kony. It's more complicated than that. What happens after April 20th, the day Kony 2012 supporters are supposed to "take to the streets"? Hell, what's their Uganda exit strategy? The way Russell oversimplifies the issue — proselytizing dreamy visions of "world peace" instead of thoughtful fact-based solutions — is reminiscent of certain religious beliefs, so it's unsurprising to see some new discussion of Russell's evangelical roots. Last November at Liberty University, he told his audience:
Yes, Russell. You freak me out. And you've convinced me that while Kony is indeed a very bad man and Uganda is worthy of attention, Invisible Children isn't a cause (sorry, awareness program) that I want to support.
Fuck this stupid asshole trendifying legitimate issues in N.Uganda and deliberately misleading people.
Fuck self serving people that would rather trend a topic and wear a cool tee-shirt than take the time to read about the causes they claim to care about.
If you can't even point out Uganda on a map, shut the fuck up.
If you are genuine about "doing something" as opposed to just retweeting/reblogging/updating your facebook status in the name of ~awareness then first LISTEN AND READ: