Fired Navy commander: My bosses knew about raunchy videos
Owen Honors says senior leadership gave "tacit approval" of controversial on-board videos.
January 31st, 2011
12:32 PM ET

Fired Navy commander: My bosses knew about raunchy videos

The Navy commander fired for making racy videos and broadcasting them on a ship says that the movies had the "tacit approval" of senior Navy leadership, the Navy Times reports.

Owen Honors' statement to investigators, obtained by the Navy Times, marks the first time his side of the story has been made public.

Honors made headlines for days in early January when the videos were published on the Virginian-Pilot newspaper site. The films included a simulated rectal exam, anti-gay slurs and sailors pretending to shower with each other aboard ship. In early January, Honors was removed from his post commanding the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise.

An official 15-page statement that Honors gave to Navy investigators states that two commanding officers, two strike group admirals "and myriad other senior military and civilian distinguished visitors" were aware of the videos, according to the Navy Times.

Honors made the videos in 2006 and 2007 when he was executive officer of the Enterprise, and they were discussed during meetings with the ship's commanding officer and other leadership, the Navy Times reports. During these conversations, Honors received “encouraging feedback” about the content of the movies and was never told to stop making them, according to the report.

Honors' superiors did not respond to Navy Times' requests for comment.

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Filed under: Military • U.S. Navy
soundoff (466 Responses)
  1. chuckmartel

    From what I saw of the video and above description, I would say this captain and his pals are the ones with the gay issues. I do believe at least some of his superiors knew of this.

    January 31, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. american me

    If this idiot really needed his bosses to tell him that these videos were highly inappropriate, he has proven that they made the right decision to remove him from command. Bigotry has no place in society.

    January 31, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. The two witnesses

    We found them, they're here!!!
    The two witnesses spoken About in your holy scriptures! 
    Don't delay call today 800 613 9494 your salvation depends on it

    January 31, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. John

    YOU GUYS ARE COMPLAINING THAT PEOPLE LAUGHED WHILE doing their job. there stuck at sea of GODS SAKES PEOPLE. When you go to lunch and joke around with a coworker about maybe naughty things or funny things that makes u a horrible person. People put the Uniform on a pedistal! althought in certain situations it should be put up on one, BUT SERIOUSLY!!!!!! JUST BECAUSE I WEAR THE UNIFORM DOES NOT I REPEAT DOES NOT TAKE AWAY MY RIGHT TO LAUGH OR BE FUNNY OR BE HUMAN!

    January 31, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Light Bird

    Honor your oath, obey the UCMJ, follow orders and......LEAD BY EXAMPLE. Otherwise, accept your promotion to "mister" and return to civilian life. Carry on.

    January 31, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Rudy Gonzales

    Everyone up the chain of command knew. Nothing gets by without "Tacit Consent".

    January 31, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. fastball

    He got a screwjob by the brass, who didn't want any negative press from any "concerned" groups. The videos were probably great for morale amongst the crew of the ship, and the fact that the captain was involved was probably even more of a hoot. I suppose now that ship's officers are told to be mindless, soul-less, humor-less robots?
    I sure didn't see anything overtly offensive or denigrating. It looked like a lot of it was good fun, with a bit of tongue-in-cheek to it. Nothing worse than anything on TV.

    January 31, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mike

    Amazing how many people here don't get it (military included). This is simply a case where power was given to someone with a thus far honorable service, and he abused it. He knew he was out of line. He knew he was offending his subordinates. He stated he didn't care. He obviously felt he was bullet proof. This has nothing to do with whether some people viewing the videos enjoyed them, or whether there is racier stuff out there. Irrelevant. There is a standard of conduct expected of those who command (I know this from first-hand experience). It is higher than that of those who do not. He betrayed that standard, by a large margin. And, by the way, his comments were made to investigators, not to the press. To say he got encouragement from some senior officers is neither excuse, nor is it whining, simply his statement of fact. If Commanding Officers condoned his behaviour, then they should be held accountable as well....

    January 31, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      You know what Mike, I was pretty offended when my Drill Instructor threw a 50lb wooden footlocker at me, but it definetly taught me a lesson. Guess what, the military isn't in the business of walking on eggshells. If you get offended that easily, then get out.

      February 1, 2011 at 7:48 am | Report abuse |
  9. SailorsMrs

    @chuck, me & my husband both sawq tha videos and heard his side of the story which it is what it is. AGREE 100% wit ya but as much as we want to do somethin, there's not much we can.@jasper, I get that u feel that"civillans" should not be commentin on this nonsense but if tha media would stop kickin tha dead horse & stop bringin it up maybe it wouldn't b so many comments.

    January 31, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • richard

      A great representation of "military intelligence"–your "writing" is reprehensible, nearly unintelligible and lacking any grammatical skills needed to make a valid point about any subject. You are a great example of what's wrong in the military–the gung-ho kill 'em all and let god sort them out" mentality won't save the world. And the likes of you will do nothing to improve this nation.

      January 31, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Nick

    Has anyone ever stopped looking at the commander, and just think to themselves, "I wonder if any of the men and women aboard the navy vessels involved, laughed and enjoyed these films and not only that, but for even that one second of the day, they didn't feel like they were in a warzone, didn't have to worry about the possibility of being killed the next day, and that they were eventually going to see their families again?"
    You people who say he should be fired aren't completely wrong as I do find this unprofessional and there were way better ways to do what he did without this media storm, but he was trying to keep up morale on ship in a warzone, he put the morale of his peers above all else, his intentions were more then pure, and for that alone he was a good commander, and I would have been honored to serve with him.

    January 31, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Light Bird

      "he was trying to keep up morale on ship in a warzone, he put the morale of his peers above all else". Wrong, sir – the code, the troops, the ship and the mission are above all else. Morale is not always an available luxury when your job is running top speed straight into hell. War is tough, dirty work and "taking care of business" is what keeps you sharp and gets you home to your family.

      January 31, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kyle G.

      @Light: Missions first, People always.

      January 31, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  11. omniscient

    You are all right in some respect; yes he has the right to freedom of speech but, yes, he also had a responsibilities to be a leader. I'm sure you don't really care but, I think what he did was wrong. So what if he has the right to freedom of speech whether or not if you are active in the service if you call yourself a part of the US military then you should act the part everyday, all day. Even if he thinks that being gay is wrong that doesn't mean he can make slurs about them and post it on the internet. he would be offended if people made fun of him or his mama so making fun of gays is just as bad. Gays did nothing wrong but love some one of the same gender. YOu can get over yourselves because even now the military is changing. You can't go pinning this on others. He made the video, he is solely the one at fault. He made slurs against fellow Americans who he has NEVER even talked to before so what, what, gives him the right to degrade them? Nothing. Honors needs to try to get back his honor because he lost it ALL what he demeaned gays. He is wrong. And you know what? I am sure that whether or not the other officers said, "Yeah go ahead!" The knew that those videos were wrong. Nobody cares what goes on on the ship; it is probably like middle school clowns, but we all care that everyone in this country feels safe at least walking down the street and not feel threatened by the fact that they could have insults about features or qualities that they can't change. So Honors, be a man, be a soldier, be an American. Not the buffoon you have shown yourself to be.

    January 31, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Kyle G.

    So...to his Admiral that condemned this video he made as the Executive Officer (2nd in command of the Enterprise) saying that his actions reflect poorly on a CO who is ultimately responsible for all things on a warship....what about the CO of the Enterprise at the time of the videos? Of the battle group's admiral at the time of the videos? And that Admiral's fleet commander? If you're gonna say something like that...well then it should go all the up the chain and not stop with this one guy.

    January 31, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • tct

      All the way up would be a stretch, but as far up as can be shown knowledge existed without appropriate response would be fair (and, unfortunately, unlikely).

      January 31, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  13. CRBean

    I watched the video online, and I don't know what the big deal is. It reminds me of those cheesy internal videos Corporations like Microsoft would make, with Bill Gates trying to be funny. I hardly think it's worth being fired over, BUT the Commander does go on and on about the big-wigs not backing his masterpiece....maybe he should've just stayed quiet and let it pass???

    January 31, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ben Dover

    It's a Navy vessel, NOT a democracy. Get over it. He's a highly competent, skilled officer.

    January 31, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • tct

      That's funny, I thought understanding security procedures was part of competence, making a video of yourself behaving in a manner that can cost your commission and having thousands of people view it shows he lacked that competence.

      January 31, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mike

    Imagine if the Commander in Chief (President Obama) made similar videos. Perhaps the point would be clearer. And the point is the same one with the XO of the Enterprise making the videos, just in a different context...

    January 31, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • DWS

      Oh, bullcrap! If you want to apply Honor's situation, how about applying it to Cigar Man Bill – who diddled a chick with a cigar and then LIED under oath about it to you, me, and more importantly, the courts!

      Thankfully, Michelle won't let Obama demonstrate his true nature....she'd just KHA up and down the avenue!

      January 31, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Perhaps you missed my point, as you kind of made it for me, after you denounced it. The fact that we are outraged by then President Clinton's behaviour, behaviour that is rather commonplace among the public, is precisely the point I was making. With that kind of responsibility and authority comes a higher standard of accountability for ones actions. You'd probably have a hard time sitting through a lecture on morality from President Clinton. And the problem is, so would many sailors have a problem sitting through a lecture on honorable conduct from Captain Honors...

      January 31, 2011 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
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