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. Jeff

    He can try to deflect blame if he wants but at the end of the day he should have known better. Maybe others should go down with him but there is no denying he should have lost his job.

    February 1, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Keeeshawrn

    of course they knew, but thats the perk of being the boss

    February 1, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Charlie Potatoes

    Get Ahead Rule.

    Stand up in a meeting of superiors and say something really dumb.

    They will laugh you out but you get the next good job because they remember you name. Not the dumb comment.

    February 1, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tyhouston

    Ex-military here. His bosses probably knew about them, and did not care.
    To a old military member the never ending crying of Hazing, the pandering and babying of troops and sailors is fairly disgusting. We turned killers and defenders of the nation into snobbering teens who can't see they are solider but little more than McDonald's employees. Seriously....

    He was fired as a showing, but he could not punish THOSE sailors without his higher ups ok... so whom fault is it again?

    February 1, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Michael

    Perhaps his superior officers knew and if so, they should be dealt with as well. But it sounds to me like he is trying to avoid responsibility for his actions and blame others for what he did.

    February 1, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Sally

    What about those Navy personnel on the ship who were subject of this racy humor, i.e. women and gays? They are also out there to die for our coutnry and this is the thanks they get from their commanding officers and the supportive environment they have from the others. Grow up, people.

    February 1, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Inparadise

    Honors was probably on the "Flag selection list" and was keeping someone else from attaining a star: this happened several years ago to a Navy SEAL.

    February 1, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Retired Chief Petty Officer

    As an XO of a major sea command. This idiot knew at the time that the movies that he was making did not exemplefy the Navy's Core Values of Honor-Courage-Commitment. It does not matter who knew about it or cadoned it. He committed the crime and must now pay the time. He should also loose all retirement benefits and booted out of the Navy. He is a disgrace to the uniform.

    February 1, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Not All Docs Play Golf

    Let's see.....I did something wrong but my dad knew about it, so it's OK, right?

    I don't discount his abilities and service as a pilot and beyond. But we actually degrade the Navy, not support it, when we say it's all OK because they are under alot of stress. It degrades the proud Navy of those men who also served under stress but conducted themselves professionally. Those are the Naval officers we should be lauding and defending here.

    February 1, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Prior-Enlisted Sailor

    I have served aboard an aircraft carrier during a time of war. Captain honors exemplifies everything that is wrong with the Navy. It is astonishing that someone with such poor judgment, who is so bigoted and juvenile, could ever become an executive officer. I wouldn't trust this man to watch my dog, let alone preside over a multibillion-dollar warship and the lives of fellow shipmates. Sadly, this type of behavior is rampant in the military and condoned at the highest levels. This man has no honor, dignity or respect. I agree with the Chief; show him no mercy.

    February 1, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Julie Labrouste

    “Tacit approval”, is nowhere near the same as, “lawful order”, Owen; you’re still a bigot and more punishment should come your way. As for the “senior Navy leadership”, that you accuse, I would not be at all surprised to find that they are at least as much of a bigot as you are; however, given that they are probably not as galactically stupid as you, which is an excellent reason for your not commanding an American super-carrier, they probably didn’t put any blatant evidence of their bigotry on video which they’re circulating.

    February 1, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Kyle

    Now, FOUR years later, these videos are so incredibly offensive that we need to fire the CO? No one cared until now???? yeah, right. Ok, a little quiz for you. Have you ever spent a month or more at sea without seeing land? have you ever been stuck in the same space with the same people for a month or more? how about for 100 plus days? if you answered no to any of these questions, then just stop with your opinions about whether these videos are offensive or not. they were made by a sailor for sailors. they were never meant for anyone else. no one in the navy really, truly in their heart cares whether you are offended or not by these videos. THEY WEREN'T MADE FOR YOU! The branches of the military all have different ways of dealing with stress and the videos were one of our ways of dealing with that stress. again, when we are deployed overseas defending our civilians, we don't need or want your opinion on whether what we find funny is offensive to you or not.

    February 1, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • retired officer

      They were made using government equipment so they become public property by default. It doesn't really matter who they were made for.

      And, yes, I've been on 6-month deployments at big deal.

      February 2, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Paul Williams

    Knowledge gives implied consent. You can bet damn'd well that his bosses knew. Hell, his bosses probably chuckled at the displayed buffoonery. Now they are all hiding for thier carers. Honor did nothing wrong and the U.S. Navy is wrong for making him a scape goat. Hey Navy, why not investigate the bossess? Oh, I forgot... this "incident" darkest the doorsteps of all higher-ups.

    February 1, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  14. YN2_GoldandBlue

    Did anyone even read the 15 page statement? There's no way that the embarked commanders, didn't view the content of the videos at some point, much less hear about it from their executive staff or assistants. I believe there is some truth to CAPT Honors' statement where he says the embarked commanders cited specific skits (implying they watched the video) and then encouraged him. They all knew it was wrong, but when you're an operational commander like that, you're prepared for fallout if videos like those are leaked to the public. Deny knowledge and ostracize the ring leader.

    Second note and completely unrelated, did anyone view his FITREPs which were posted by another news source? Whoever prepared his Detachment of Reporting Senior report needs to learn how to type "60,000". Minor flaw, made me chuckle.

    February 1, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. retired officer

    Sorry but approval by his seniors shouldn't have been his litmus test for what was ok. As a senior officer, you are expected to come to the right decision all by yourself...that's why you're the CO. The buck stops there.

    Besides, I doubt he presented the script to his seniors for approval. More than likely, he left out the more sordid details.

    Didn't he preface at least one of the videos by saying he knew that there will definitely been some who will be offended. That is the usual smell test we tell junior people to apply. If i even comes close to offending somebody, then that should tell you not to go through with it.

    They apparently made a terrible choice for Honors as a CO since he apparently does not want to be held accountable...and ACCOUNTABILITY is what is expected of any CO or any officer, senior or junior.

    February 2, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pooua

      Technically, he was XO when he made the videos.

      Even if Honors did not tell his seniors what was in his videos, I'm sure they must have taken a glance at the videos at some point. I mean, the videos were on the ship's public entertainment channel. What captain wouldn't know what his own ship is doing?

      I'm glad that Honors is being held accountable for his videos. He may have been an excellent officer otherwise, but the humor he encouraged aboard ship would create a hostile environment for anyone who did not approve of that humor.

      February 2, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
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