A series of “raunchy” videos produced aboard the USS Enterprise and broadcast to its crew were the brainchild of the aircraft carrier’s second-in-command, news reports indicate.
In videos shot in 2006 and 2007 and obtained on Friday by the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, Capt. Owen Honors is seen ringleading numerous skits depicting scenes such as female sailors pretending to shower together and begging for more time; sailors dressed in drag; sailors using anti-gay slurs; and simulated masturbation and rectal exams.
“This evening, all of you bleeding hearts — and you, fag schoolboy — why don’t you just go ahead and hug yourself for the next 20 minutes or so, because there’s a really good chance you’re gonna be offended,” Capt. Honors says at the start of one of the videos.
(The “schoolboy” Capt. Honors referred to was his own “alter ego,” appearing in the video through a camera trick.)
Honors was executive officer, or second-in-command, of the aircraft carrier when the videos were made. He has since been promoted to commander of the ship.
According to unnamed Naval officers who spoke with the Virginian-Pilot, the videos were a regular fixture aboard the USS Enterprise, being broadcast weekly by closed-circuit TV to its approximately 6,000 crew. Many were reportedly filmed while the Enterprise was deployed to support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Navy at first defended the videos as an attempt at using humor to instruct sailors on various issues, but quickly backtracked and condemned the broadcasts.
“The videos created onboard USS Enterprise in 2006-2007 were not created with the intent to offend anyone,” a statement to the Virginian-Pilot 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.”
“The videos … are clearly inappropriate,” the statement said. “Production of videos, like the ones produced four to five years ago on USS Enterprise and now being written about in The Virginian-Pilot, were not acceptable then and are not acceptable in today’s Navy. The Navy does not endorse or condone these kinds of actions.”
Controversy has erupted over when Navy leadership knew about the videos. Spokespeople told the Virginian-Pilot the Navy ordered a halt to the broadcasts when it became aware of them in early 2007. But unnamed sailors told the paper it was hard to believe Navy leadership was unaware of them prior to that time, “given that they were routinely broadcast for the entire crew.”
“People talked about them,” an unnamed ship videographer said. “People looked forward to them — at least the people who thought they were funny.”
Not everyone did: According to the Virginian-Pilot, some female sailors complained about the videos, and Honors acknowledged the existence of their complaints in one of the videos.
Capt. Honors did not return requests for comment from news sources.
The USS Enterprise is scheduled to deploy within weeks, but an unnamed Navy source told NBC News that Honors is unlikely to be commanding the ship when it does. Some sailors expressed concern about Honors leading the ship to war, in light of the videos.
“When the ship pulls away from that pier, he’s it,” a naval officer told the Virginian-Pilot. “To me, that’s scary.”
The following video was obtained by the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot and posted to the Web by Mediaite.