|I, the crown prince of Nigeria, offering you|
“”We can have fun while we end genocide!
|—Jason Russell at Liberty University, 2011|
Invisible Children, Inc. is an American organization founded in 2004 that claims to be a charity helping child soldiers in the Third World. It has come to prominence through the viral marketing of its film Kony 2012, which aims to create a mass movement against Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda, even though the LRA left the country several years earlier and is now mostly a spent force.
Invisible Children has attracted notice for its funding from creationist and homophobic groups, including support from notorious Ugandan pastor Martin Ssempa. The organization is also known for its disinclination to reveal its financial affairs, and the surprisingly low amount of its income spent on actual charitable work: just under a third, with the rest going to hotels, expenses, filmmaking and the high salaries of its leaders. Unfortunately, this is fairly typical of many charity organisations.
In tastelessly hilarious news, shortly after the release of the Kony 2012, the leading narrator and director of the documentary, Jason Russell, was seen having a severe mental breakdown in public which involved him publicly spanking the monkey and erratically cursing to himself about the devil whilst naked, was filmed on a street corner of San Diego and released as a viral video on the Internet. If you watch the ten second video, you will gain an insight into the man's inner fabulousness because nothing says thinking about the children more than indecent public exposure while going apeshit! Russell's wife and organization explain that the incident was caused by an extreme sleep deprivation and dehydration and was not caused by substance abuse.
So what happened?
The original video, an half-hour film published on YouTube on Saturday, May 5th, 2012, called for a "Cover the Night" event on April 20, 2012,[note 1] aiming to plaster Joseph Kony's name in "every city, on every block". Following Russell's wankfest, it failed miserably.
The overall campaign, however, is not over. If Kony is
killed arrested by Invisible Children's goal of December 2012 (unlikely), they'll be in the spotlight again and will probably claim all the credit. If not, then this entire debacle will be taught in university classes on the drawbacks of social networking for years to come.
- 2013: Kony is alive and well. How about that?
- 2014: Kony is still alive, well and free. Nothing from Invisible Children on why, though we'd have to interrupt their two month long vacations to get a response from abroad.
- 2015: Kony is still alive and well. The debacle has been subsequently taught in some university politics classes on the problems with social media activism.
- 2016: Go on, guess.
- 2017: Still alive... The Ugandan and U.S. Government officially stopped searching for the LRA.
- 2018: Rumored to be seriously ill, and the Ugandan government has declared the LRA is no longer a threat. Regardless of whether or not this is true, Invisible Children had no part in it.
- 2019: Apparently still kicking...
- 2020: He has diabetes now.
As of 4 December 2022, as far as we know, he is still alive.
So... if Joseph Kony is still alive and free, and the LRA is completely defunct... Then what did Invisible Children even do? Well, for one thing, their paycheck certainly wasn't invisible.
In a nutshell
- Visible Children, the whistleblower blog that took most of the flak from thousands of Invisible Children supporters
- Doctors Without Borders: "The aid industry has just been Biebered"
- Charlie Brooker does it once again
- Two Years After KONY 2012, Has Invisible Children Grown Up? (What do you think.)
- Claire Suddath (August 31, 2012). "'Kony 2012': Guerrilla Marketing". Bloomberg Businessweek.
- Kony 2012, Invisible Children, YouTube, 5 March 2012.
- Kony 2012 and Invisible Children are Funded by Antigay Creationist Groups, Jezebel
- Invisible Children and 'Kill the Gays' Pastor Martin Ssempa, Right Wing Watch
- "Invisible Children: 'Rich White Kids Paying Rich White Kids To Go On Vacation'" and the Better Business Bureau's criticism
- "Invisible Children are the wrong NGO to support in the fight against Joseph Kony"
- Alyssa Newcomb, Kony 2012 Filmmaker's Wife: Naked Public Meltdown 'Irrational'. ABC News, 17 March 2012.
- Dale Archer, Jason Russell's Psychosis, Psychology Today, 24 March 2012.
- Alyssa Newcomb, Kony 2012 Filmmaker Jason Russell Opens Up About Nude Public Meltdown. ABC News, 8 October 2012.
- Kony 2012's digital message stumbles on the streets, The Globe and Mail
- Kony 2012: Invisible Children prepares Cover the Night stunt amid criticism, The Grauniad