KONY 2012’s Invisible Children Cares About Ugandans—But Only If They’re Heteros

Each week, Queerty picks one blowhard, hypocrite, airhead, sanctimonious prick or other enemy of all that is queer to be the Douche of the Week. 

Have a nominee for DOTW? E-mail it to us at [email protected].

We were tempted to give the Douche of the Week honor to the thousands of people who mindlessly re-tweeted, Facebooked and emailed Invisible Children’s viral video about Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony. Seriously, its 2012; haven’t we all learned already to sniff around—or at least think twice—before jumping on the latest cause.

But we realized we were being a little mean (Us, mean? No way!)—at least those bandwagon-jumpers’ hearts were in the right place.

So we’re pinning DOTW onto Invisible Children itself. (That’s IC co-founder Jason Russell playing White Savior at right)

As we reported earlier this week, IC has links to anti-gay Christian groups like the Caster Foundation, Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council. They also share funding sources with Harvest Evangelism’s Ed Silvoso, who helped push Uganda’s infamous “Kill the Gays” bill.

Oh, and in case you missed it, that was Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) in the Kony 2012 video.

You know, the guy who said U.S. foreign policy should be based on the Bible. The guy who said he’d never hire an openly gay staffer and who came up with “God, guns, and gays” as the GOP’s campaign strategy. The guy who boasted, “in the recorded history of our family, we’ve never had a divorce or any kind of homosexual relationship.”

Yeah, that guy.

Sorry folks, but Invisible Children is looking more and more like a Christian missionary group rather than a human-rights organization. (And as several readers have pointed out, a number of their talking heads ping the gaydar as fundamentalist closet-cases.)

Today, New York magazine reports IC has responded to skepticism about its motivations with a new follow-up video (one that hasn’t gone quite a viral as its debut clip) and a twitter hashtag, “#AskICAnything,” that IC chief Ben Keesey says he’ll respond to personally.

Maybe someone should tweet him a question about the disastrous screening of the Kony 2012 in Uganda last night. As Al Jazeera reports, it was quite the shit show:

The audience was at first puzzled to see the narrative led by an American man—Jason Russell—and his young son.

Towards the end of the film, the mood turned more to anger at what many people saw as a foreign, inaccurate account that belittled and commercialised their suffering, as the film promotes Kony bracelets and other fundraising merchandise, with the aim of making Kony infamous.

One woman I spoke to made the comparison of selling Osama Bin Laden paraphernalia post 9/11 – likely to be highly offensive to many Americans, however well intentioned the campaign behind it.

The event ended with the angrier members of the audience throwing rocks and shouting abusive criticism, as the rest fled for safety, leaving an abandoned projector, with organisers and the press running for cover until the dust settled.

The group is looking worse and worse—and more inept by the day. As New York‘s Joe Coscarelli explains, IC originally agreed to an interview with Jezebel, but then suddenly begged off. An email was sent to the site yesterday by Invisible Children’s Director of Idea Development and Ideology Jedidiah Jenkins. (By the way, what’s creepier: the guy’s hillbilly name or his Orwellian title?)

…I guess we’re currently focusing on producing just a few more pieces addressing criticisms from our own channels, and then moving on to implementation of specific steps of policy-related activism and on the ground work.

There’s been such a onslaught of discussion, it’s overwhelming to tackle it all. I’ll be in touch, and maybe we can follow up with a solid discussion in the near future. :)

OMG he did not use a smiley face!

Later, the company pulled the oldest of PR tricks to deflect calls that its anti-gay. The “some of my best friends…” defense! (An oldie but a goodie!)

VP of Business Operations Chris Sarette (right) explained how Invisible Children couldn’t be homophobic because he works for them and he’s gay:

“I have been a core member of the management staff at Invisible Children for five years. The fact that Invisible Children sees people as PEOPLE—whether they be family, neighbors, or children in Central Africa— is one of the reasons I finally came out as a gay man.”

Well, there you go: case closed! Because, as we all know, anti-gay groups never employ homosexuals. Except for the Republican Party. Oh, and the Catholic Church. And the United States military. And… well, you get the picture

All together now: What a bunch of douches!

Photos via Facebook, CNN

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  • Mk_ultra_again

    As someone who works in PR and marketing this whole campaign gave me a bad taste in the mouth from the beginning.
    Watching them on CNN, they had such a used-car-salesman disposition.
    I had them pegged from a mile away.
    Now to find out they have close, intimate ties with far right christian groups, groups that have advocated religious extremism in Uganda, the picture is so much clearer.

  • Christophe Banks

    Thank you for reporting on the forces behind this organisation. I have sent several tweets to #askICanything about their stance on gay rights in Uganda and their relationship with their anti-gay funders and have not received a reply.

  • doomsday1038

    My question to all the people up in arms about kony 2012 is what have you done to help these african children? I don’t care if it’s funded by people who do like gays they are doing good work.Christian groups go to the places most won’t and feed and house the poor.No gay organization I know of does that.

  • Blahqula

    Here’s the interaction section of their newest video, FWIW.
    “Adding comments has been disabled for this video”
    If you’ve been on YouTube trying to get the Talibangelicals to be honest about anything, you’ll know what’s happening here. Just Saying.

  • LandStander

    @doomsday1038: Then you need to do more research. There are plenty of organizations who feed and house the poor who are NOT bigoted/anti-gay. Christians are not the only ones who do charity work you dolt.

    Alternative Gifts International
    Amnesty International
    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
    Doctors Without Borders
    Freedom from Hunger
    FINCA International
    International Aids Vaccine Initiative
    Kiva – Loans that change lives
    Mercy Corps
    Oxfam International
    Partners In Health (PIH), Health Care for the Poor
    PATH A catalyst for global health
    Pathfinder International Changing Lives, Saving Lives
    Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc.
    Second Harvest
    Southern Poverty Law Center
    TechnoServe – Business Solutions to Rural Poverty
    The Nature Conservancy
    WHO World Health Organization

    So before you say “you should donate to them anyway, who cares if they hate gay people, anti-gay bigots are the only people who do charity!!!!!”
    You are wrong.

  • Jan Cosgrove

    And, Lo, the Lord said, See those who want to be seen in the market place, yeah I said before verily they hath their reward. But you, queer and straight brethren, even eunuchs and adulterers and dwellers in the Facebook, if ye prayeth in private that the works of these Self-Righteous shall be confounded even unto insertion of the Bull’s Pizzle, and yet it happeneth not, I say unto you, thou mayest with glad heart and boundless mirth yourselves insert ye Pizzle in said Darkened Place where the Sun shineth not, even unto the seven hundredth and seventieth and seventh generation, in the Name of the Lord. For He Abhoreth the Exploiters, and the Misery Makers, and the False-hearted and Insanitary Santoria even unto the Lossening of His Bowels Upon the Face of the Earth. For I say unto you, the meek SHALL inherit the Earth even if we have to kick ass to do so. Make it so, in the of St JonLuc, Amen.

  • Jan Cosgrove

    @doomsday1038: Ah gays don’t have too much of a welcome in … well Uganda and some other places. Often the hatred and bile is spurred on by the …. guess who … funders of Kony. These guys are NOT your straight-forward compassionate, I-saw-you-in-prison-the least-of-us Samaritans who didn’t wait round to a) convert b) trumpet their ‘goodness’, they are ‘those in the Market Place’ (HOW apt) of whom Jesus says They Have Their Reward – prosletysing, taking God’s name in vain, spreading hate not Love. Wealth. The Whitened Tombs rotten with Corruption within. They may fool kids, they are barred from the Kingdom. Hey I’m agnostic, Not Knowing, but my inner light says Nice Profits, False Prophets.

  • Quentin

    Shoot the messanger as much as you like. Just don’t shoot the message.

  • chriso

    @LandStander: Rock on! And thanks for that list. :-)

  • patrick mahoney

    Try to not be played so simplistically….

    There is a concerted campaign to ruin this guy…..and the effort his group is trying to make.

    Think about it…Why? THEN, get a clue….. Jesus, what a bunch of waspy vicious, and sooo stereotypical embittered gay men.

    He, and his group, are going up against the largest land grab in world history….an entire continent. So, don’t be so quick to take whatever is fed to you to discredit a movement that, for once, has people’s rights in the forefront. Do you even understand what this movement means to “the powers that be?” It means they are “out” and all you you, and ”us” are in. So, don’t be a tool and destroy that which could save you. Ok?

    Duh, duh, and really DUH!

  • Greybat

    I suppose now that he’s been shipped off to the Crazy Hospital, it’ll all wind down now.

  • Oh, ok.

    I always get a good hearty laugh out of some of you pretending to give a damn about gay Ugandans and any other gays in foreign areas that aren’t white.

    Leave a sweeping generalization about all of them, take personal offense to show you only care about yourselves, and check out feeling justified in not trying to help the people who need it.

    If the homophobes can start a charity then why can’t we? I don’t see any of you lobbying for that and I don’t see you trying to change anything. You just leave some ignorant comments about all Africans on a massive continent and go back to only thinking entirely about yourselves.

    Talk about vapid. I’d rather donate to stop this nonsense than listen to you windbags find every excuse to spread hate and ignore everything that doesn’t involve worshiping white skin and everlasting youth.

  • JanC

    @Quentin: It depends just what the messenger’s motive is. To hijack such an issue is both squalid and dangerous. Nothing, duh, to duh, duh, with being gay, duh, no Are the sponsoring organisations of IV doing this to help people of Uganda or to convince our kids they are the good guys? Seeing what else they keep company with, the issue is Caution, duh. My setup has been aware of the LRA, and other child soldier issues, for ages, and saying so constantly [children’s rights which we peddle are not flavour of any month with such dudes, duh, they slaver if you say America should ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child because it says kids have a right to choose their religion) … but holy shit Batduh, no kind Christian funders popped along with their chequebook, and a lot of other child-killing/maiming things – like Christian witch-hunting of children (even spread to the UK, people jailed here a week or so back for murder). IV may be dupes. Like, if a Jewish organisation had highlighted the plight of Europe’s Jews and then we found their funding came from the funders of Hitler or even from the Gestapo, what would you say? Oh Star of David, Pink Triangle …. Hadn’t seen that link myself till I got to writing this bit. Embittered gays, you bet. But also Cautious gays – death penalty for them reintroduced in Uganda soon? Who backs the Government there in this crusade of virtue. Could it be you, Right Christian Soldiers? Land grab? See Soul Snatching. For these Servants of the Lord, (yes we are. we tell you so), will try to fill the hearts of people with their form of hate and, lo and verily, there’ll be more blood, not just kids, but gays …. especially gay kids no doubt possessed by demons and obviously witches. The holy men in Iran still have boys hanged from the backs of moving lorries, duh. I am sure we’ll find their money behind virtuous crusades of Islam, heart-wrenching films. You DO trust their motives too, duh. Let all these bastards (no I was born one of those), slime be translated by their holy zeal onto an isalnd, planet etc where they can fight it out and leave us all alone. You can bet the funders of IV are not so much concerned about the LRA as about showing us all, especially the world’s kids the tenderness of their hearts, of the ravening wolf dressed up in little lamb’s clothing variety. James Thurber, Fables of Our Time: “She who walks in Paradise must first of all ensure that’s where she is”. For God’s sake don’t donate to them, try some of the regular charities working under real threat of harm in Uganda, some of them True Christians, no doubt some of them gay, others straight, some Moslem, atheists even, business people with hearts of gold and no Prophet Motive.

  • vixlad

    what a nut, this guy!

  • JTKlaus

    @doomsday1038: Would you happen to have a profile on RealJock???

  • Ben

    Oh why am I not surprised…

  • JanC

    “Russell, 33, is the founder of Invisible Children, a nonprofit organization that produces films to educate people on global issues such as environmentalism and human rights. He was arrested Thursday after allegedly vandalizing several cars and masturbating in the streets while possibly being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, police told NBC San Diego.
    Lt. Andra Brown said, “Due to the nature of the detention, he was not arrested. During the evaluation, we learned we probably needed to take him to a medical facility because of statements he was saying.” ”

    He was also seemingly suffering from “exhaustion, dehydration, and malnutrition” according to an IV colleague. Which tells us something is very mixed up there. Remember the Pink Triangle was worn in the same places as the Star of David and that this funding seems to me to be as welcome as Goebbels funding a Jewish Relief operation. The motives for both? To fool us by looking good while planning evil. Whatever good is being done is short-term in the extreme, could be done by others, and will lead to IV’s backers getting more kudos around the world.

  • FunMe

    Aha! Now I get it. Gay Chris Sarette was banging Jane Russell … sorry, I mean Jason Russell. Jason got dumped, and he went on a girls gone wild “and I am telling him, I’m not going” tantrum.

    That Russell … what a drama queen!

    This is getting juicier by the minute.

  • Franco

    Seems like many people had a sense that something wasn’t right in the first couple seconds of the video, even me. I have to say though, it’s still a cause worth noting, even if the founder is what you would refer to as a douche. I’ll try and be more kind.

  • Bronwyn

    @patrick mahoney:

    I don’t think anyone thinks the cause is bad. It’s that we’re a bit disheartened to see that only 31 percent of their profits are donated, and they seem to have some ulterior motives.

    “The audience was at first puzzled to see the narrative led by an American man—Jason Russell—and his young son.
    Towards the end of the film, the mood turned more to anger at what many people saw as a foreign, inaccurate account that belittled and commercialised their suffering, as the film promotes Kony bracelets and other fundraising merchandise, with the aim of making Kony infamous.”

  • Observer

    Yes, what a “douche.” The man’s only devoted ten years of his life to trying to help some children in Africa, founded an organization that gets high praise for its innovative methods from other NGOs, and did a video that got 80 million views to help publicize the world’s current number one criminal. And he’s the wrong color and the wrong faith, let’s not forget that.

    Thanks, queerty, for nothing.

  • Shannon1981

    @Observer: You really think his main aim is to help African children? Get a clue and do some research and stop believing the scam he has been selling. He just effectively trolled the entire planet. People have a right to be pissed off.

  • orgulloTico

    I read he was arrested for beging drunk and masturbating in a public place, could this be true?

  • Sean Donegan

    The title seems a bit inflammatory and misleading. Querty is clearly going for emotional backlash against a well intentioned organization. Groups like Invisible Children focus their aid in regions under some level of authoritarian control, if they came in waving rainbow flags, they would never be able to enact their relief. The International Community has been working to arrest Kony for years, so in the end, as an attempt to affect policy-making the film comes up short. However, as an attempt to inspire and educate the uninformed masses, as a genesis point for learning about a foreign problem beyond American news coverage, it is a tremendous success. Can anyone argue this? I feel if someone had asked any of you who Kony or President Museveni were two months ago, I doubt most of you would be aware.

Comments are closed.