What happened to… Kony 2012, Part 2

Date:

On this episode of the Global News podcast What happened to…? Erica Vella finds out what happened to viral video Kony 2012 and speaks with the co-founder of Invisible Children, the man behind the video, Jason Russell.

In March 2012, a 30-minute film produced by U.S.-based not-for-profit Invisible Children garnered international attention.

Story continues below advertisement

The film was narrated by Jason Russell, the co-founder of Invisible Children, and it aimed to shed light on the Ugandan militant who founded the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

Joseph Kony, the leader of the Ugandan rebel group, is the target of the Kony 2012 campaign led by Invisible Children.

“We put Kony 2012 online and we hit 500,000 views within the first 12 hours (or) 24 hours, something like that, and then it just continued to build and build and build,” said Russell.

“Every hour after that was like a million views an hour, and it just kept growing and within a few days, it was being translated into all major languages around the world. Seven out of 10 of global tweets had something to do with Kony or Uganda or Invisible Children and so that’s really when we stepped into the phenomenon that is now known as Kony 2012.”

Russell said growing up, he had never thought he would be running a not-for-profit. He said he wanted to be a storyteller and filmmaker.

Story continues below advertisement

In 2003, Russell, along with Bobby Bailey and Laren Poole, set out to create a film on the conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan and travelled to northern Uganda to speak with those who had fled Sudan.

Their plans would change when they witnessed the war in Uganda with the Lord’s Resistance Army.

“We didn’t really know about the war in northern Uganda until it came upon us, until the violence really intercepted this one road from Kampala to Gulu,” Russell said.

“A car in front of us was blown up by the Lord’s Resistance Army and that forced us to go back to the town of Gulu and, you know, see the night commuters sleeping in the streets by the tens of thousands, children literally running for their lives and it was that story that captured us. So we shifted our focus from Sudan to northern Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army and specifically the communities that had been affected by this conflict at the time. It had been 17 years of unrest and violence.”

Russell, Baily and Poole produced their first film, Invisible Children Rough Cut, and out of that film, the not-for-profit Invisible Children was born.

Story continues below advertisement

“At the end of the movie, originally, everybody kept asking, what can we do to help? And we thought, Well, we don’t really know. I mean, we were just focused on making the documentary,” Russell said.

“But then we had the idea of building in a call to action at the end of the movie to make something super simple and applicable that somebody who watched Invisible Children the rough cut, get them to get involved, get them to give, get them to think of their time, their talent, their money. And then out of that was birthed the nonprofit Invisible Children.”

On this episode of What happened to…? Russell speaks about how the idea of Kony 2012 started, how it became a viral sensation after its release and the swift criticism that followed.

Contact:

Email: erica.vella@globalnews.ca

Story continues below advertisement

If you enjoy What Happened To…? please take a minute to rate it on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts, tell us what you think and share the show with your friends.

If you haven’t subscribed yet — what are you waiting for?

Subscribing’s easy! Here’s how…

What happened to… Kony 2012, Part 2 - image

  • Open the Apple Podcasts app, search for What Happened To? and select it from the list of results.
  • Once on the What Happened To? page, click the “subscribe” button to have new episodes sent to your mobile device for free.
  • Click the name of an episode from the list below to listen.

What happened to… Kony 2012, Part 2 - image

  • Open the Spotify app, search for What Happened To? and select it from the list of results.
  • Once on the What Happened To? page, click the “Follow” button to have new episodes sent to your mobile device for free.
  • Click the name of an episode from the list below to listen.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Share post:

Subscribe

spot_img

Popular

More like this
Related

Sophie Grégoire Trudeau among 26 more Canadians banned from travel to Russia

Russia said on Saturday it had added 26 new...

U.S., Canada and other APEC delegates walk out on Russian speaker

Delegates from the United States, Canada and three other nations...

Does Flair play fair? Experts weigh in on airline’s route ‘exclusivity’ deals

Flair Airlines says its cheap airfare and deals...