In 2006 and 2007, Navy Capt. Owen Honors, now the commander of the USS Enterprise, made a series of videos using Navy equipment and showed them to the 6,000 sailors on his ship. In the videos, the then-executive officer of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier calls his “alternate personality” a “fag,” shows two women showering and drops the F-bomb many, many times.
After a series of complaints from those who found the “XO Movie Nights” offensive, his higher-ups told him to cut it out. But he was apparently never officially disciplined.
Now, with selections from the weekly videos published by the Virginian-Pilot newspaper over the weekend, the Navy says it is investigating the videos.
The videos “were not acceptable then and are not acceptable in today’s Navy,” the Navy said in a statement. “The Navy does not endorse or condone these kinds of actions.”
The Navy’s initial reaction noted that the videos were inappropriate but said they had been dealt with sufficiently when they came to Honors’ superiors’ attention back in 2007.
“The videos created onboard USS Enterprise in 2006-2007 were not created with the intent to offend anyone,” the statement said. “The videos were intended to be humorous skits focusing the crew’s attention on specific issues such as port visits, traffic safety, water conservation, ship cleanliness, etc.”
In the videos, Honors uses gay slurs (mostly in reference to his “alternate personality,” which is him dressed up as an SWO, or surface warfare officer) and makes reference to complaints about the videos.
“Over the years I’ve gotten several complaints about inappropriate material during these videos, never to me personally, but gutlessly through other channels,” he says in one. “This evening, all of you bleeding hearts, why don’t just go ahead and hug yourself for the next 20 minutes or so, because there’s a really good chance you’re going to be offended.”
“I think it’s unfortunate,” Lt. Carey Lohrenz said. “I would like to think that the people responsible for leading in the Navy wouldn’t go forward with videos like this. However, I think it’s important to remember this is being taken, to a certain extent, out of context.”
“To think this is really a cultural or systemic problem, that there’s a leadership problem: I think we need to be careful,” she said.