On Monday, Military Times reporter Geoff Ziezulewicz obtained a message sent by PR officials to Navy officers on the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, instructing them to have sailors take down social media recordings of Navy Secretary Thomas Modly attacking relieved Capt. Brett Crozier as “stupid.”
The message warned “posting negative comments” that put “senior leaders” in a bad light is counterproductive, and urges everyone to stay out of the “negative media spotlight.”
Read the message below:
NEW: public affairs folks sent this notice out to leadership on the USS Theodore Roosevelt, telling them to tell their sailors they didn’t have permission to record SECNAV Modly and that bashing “Senior Leaders” online won’t help anything. Stay out the “negative media spotlight” pic.twitter.com/xuFlQGK6rF
— Geoff Ziezulewicz (@JournoGeoffZ) April 7, 2020
Modly, who was already facing criticism for relieving Crozier of command after his letter warning about COVID-19 onboard the ship leaked to the media, generated a firestorm of negative press after the footage of his speech, and of sailors shouting back at him, made the rounds.
He initially claimed he stood by everything in the speech, but in the evening issued an apology to Crozier.