Update, 1/3/2011: Capt. Owen Honors who commands the USS Enterprise and produced the controversial videos while second in command aboard the aircraft carrier, has been relieved of his command while the Navy investigates the incident. Updated story here.
The U.S. Navy has launched an investigation into a how a series of raunchy, and often anti-gay, videos were produced and then shown to a crew of nearly 6,000 sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise while on deployment supporting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The videos, produced four to five years ago but just now publicly released, were apparently produced for the crew’s entertainment, according to the The Virginian-Pilot newspaper, which first reported on them this weekend.
In one scene, two female Navy sailors stand in a shower stall aboard the aircraft carrier, pretending to wash each other. They joke about how they should get six minutes under the water instead of the mandated three.
In other skits, sailors parade in drag, use anti-gay slurs, and simulate masturbation and a rectal exam. Another scene implies that an officer is having sex in his stateroom with a donkey.
Captain Owen Honors appeared in the videos in 2006 and 2007 while he was the second-ranking officer on the Enterprise, the newspaper reported. He took over as the ship’s commander in May last year.
According to The Virginian-Pilot, at least a dozen videos were produced, all filmed and edited using government equipment. In one video, Honors acknowledges some crew members thought the videos were offensive.
“Over the years I’ve gotten several complaints about inappropriate materials in these videos, never to me personally but, gutlessness, through other channels,” said Honors, who appears on camera as himself, and as his aviator and SWO “alter-personality.”
“This evening, all of you bleeding hearts, and you, fag SWO-boy… 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 gonna be offended,” he said.
(“SWO” — or Surface Warfare Officers — are those who crew the ship, but are not fighter pilots or aviators.)
In one segment of the video, Honors is filmed repeatedly uses the word “fuck.” In another segment, he and others simulate masturbation to the song “Spank.” Throughout the video, Honors refers to the SWO’s as “fags.” Watch here:
Initially, the Navy issued a statement to the Virginia-Pilot on Friday that the videos “were not created with the intent to offend anyone,” and called them “humorous skits focusing the crew’s attention on specific issues such as port visits, traffic safety, water conservation, ship cleanliness.”
But on Saturday, after the video was released, the Navy issued another statement, which read, “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 still not acceptable in today’s Navy. The Navy does not endorse or condone these kinds of actions.”