Navy delays retirement of fleet commander pending ‘raunchy’ video investigation
The former commanding officer of a Navy captain accused of producing and starring in ‘raunchy’ anti-gay videos has had his retirement temporarily postponed, according to a Navy spokesperson.
A Navy investigation into the videos filmed on the USS Enterprise in 2006 and 2007 is holding up Rear Adm. Lawrence Rice’s scheduled retirement.
“This is a prudent and necessary step as the investigation continues,” Rear Adm. Dennis Moynihan, chief of Navy information, told CNN Thursday.
Officials say that Capt. Owen Honors was responsible for videos in which he 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 the Enterprise’s commanding officer before being relieved of duty this month due to the videos.
Rice was recently reassigned to the Navy Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk, Virginia, from Joint Forces Command.
The Navy investigation should conclude by January 24 when the commander of the Navy fleet receives the report.
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 Enterprise, the oldest US Navy warship online, deployed Thursday with a crew of 5,000 for a six-month mission to the Mediterranean and Arabian seas.
With reporting by Daniel Tencer.