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. Treva

    dude, i have never been in the military but i didn't doubt for a second that his bosses had seen the video and had probably laughed at it. as a woman who is a firm feminist, even i knew this was just guys trying to be funny. i don't think he should have lost his JOB over it.

    January 31, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Martin

    Political Correctness run amok. A Naval officer is fired for showing raunchy videos on a naval ship? Come on!

    In World War II, sailors would have been falling over themselves to make sure they got to see this movie.

    The world is a very slim reflection of it's former self, thanks to political correctness. When is everyone going to learn that you shouldn't even try to please all of the people all of the time?

    January 31, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • tct

      It isn't political correctness, sailors would've been falling over themselves to see it, but if there was any risk of it being seen off ship or it was made for distribution to enlisted personnel the officer would've lost his commission and gotten a less than honorable discharge.

      January 31, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Paul the Squid

    I find this entire story amusing, and what happened to Commander Owens a shame. One of these videos finally made it to YouTube, and some civilians see it and start crying about how rude of a video it is. What people fail to understand is that the military is not a democracy, but a yes sir, no sir culture. If you do not like something, that is too bad, that's just the way it is. Every single Navy ship I have ever served on had videos similar to this one, some more raunchy and some less. I know a civilian will jump on me for this but just because something offends someone in the military doesn't mean something will be done about it. Seeing people get shot and blown up offended me but that's too bad isn't it? Hopefully those who haven't served get my drift with that statement, and those who have know what I am talking about, it's just the way it is. Those videos help relieve tension on long tedious deployments by giving a bit of hilarity to your situation. A lot of training in the military is offensive and it's designed to be that way for good reason, to prepare you. If your sensibilities are easily offended stay away from and out of the military, it's not for the weak kneed.

    January 31, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • asailorswife

      AGREED!!

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

    Something tells me that the same people complaining about this guy's videos would have no problem with some of the same humor at a USO event. I realize that there's a difference between sailors and comedians, but the principle behind the "offensive" nature of the jokes remains the same. And on that note, if you are going to fire someone for being a comedian, then fire all of them. (Note: I don't beleive people should be fired for attempting to be humorous, unless it turns into harassment, which I do not think was the case here)

    January 31, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • tct

      No, it's a matter of good order and discipline and retaining the ability to represent our country without being personally compromised. This wasn't joking around in the officers mess or even with enlisted where there is no record, it was the persistent public nature and wide distribution that made this conduct unbecoming an officer and evidence that he's unfit for command.

      January 31, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Enterprise Alum

    JT... just goes to show how far we've come with politically correctness...

    January 31, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • tct

      Then political correctness was already being taught to every midshipman in the 1930s. You're a liar.

      January 31, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • MasterChief

      political correctness is killing this country...and breeding idiots like TCT. People who don't do a thing to improve things except voice the level of their ignorance.....there is a word for that DEMOCRATS!

      January 31, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Enterprise Alum

      sure TCT... i'm a liar and you are a non-veteran with an opinion... you should thank the men and women in the military who have foughten for your right to speak ignorantly about things you know nothing about...

      January 31, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. JoeT

    Blaming your superiors for your own mistakes doesn't seem to be inline with the best Navy traditions...

    January 31, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Enterprise Alum

      It's not blame Joe when they all knew about it...

      January 31, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. skb23

    I watched the videos and I knew immediately all the men and women involved obviously had too much time on their hands. The videos were introduced with a warning explaining they were offensive, there's no debating that. If you choose to read into the content anymore than grown ups acting like children, that is your own waste of time. The capt. also repeatedly mentions his commanding officers did not know about the videos. My conclusion, put our armed forces to work rather than giving them enough time to get themselves fired based on unsupervised, raging boredem.

    January 31, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul the Squid

      These videos came from the "Media Dept." of the ship. Making these videos is part of their job.

      January 31, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      In a case like this you have to look at the results. His intention was to amuse and instruct; instead he shocked and insulted. End result was a horrible spew of bad publicity and civilians saying "too much time on their hands" and "put them to work" and "fiddling around on government time." Does it matter what he intended to do?

      January 31, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Richie P

    You people aren't getting it. He wasn't fired for making the videos; that was dealt with as seen fit long ago. The next XO after him made at least one off-color video (even featuring mixed genders in a shower) and he didn't get fired. They just made him tone it down a bit for the rest of the deployment.
    What Captain Honors got fired for was allowing the media to get a hold of the videos. Image is what matters in the military above all other things. Even on the official reports that a unit has to send when various incidents happen, there is a block indicating whether media attention is anticipated because that's just as important as taking care of the victim.

    January 31, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Nick

    Hey... you hear about the latest figures on the civilian death toll in Afghanistan? Yep, pretty craz.....

    .....OH MY GOD! I just saw this headline about a gay person being offended by politically incorrect language and ideas!!!!!!! WHAT THE F? What are we going to do???!!!??? This will not stand! Lets blog and comment until not another soul ever has to endure such treatment ever ever again. Oh no... his feelings. How devastating.

    How can the gays ever be expected to kill others on behalf of our nations ideals after they've been called names? Its ridiculous, no?

    January 31, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      Nick, this article was about something else. Did you post on the wrong page, or was that some sort of obscure joke? Just in case, I looked it up: gay men kill people all the time. Gay women do relatively few murders percentage-wise. So if you insulted a gay man, he might shoot you. Was that your question?

      January 31, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jed

    Navy leadership had never heard of flat hatting after the Italian cable car accident either. Saving their own skins.

    January 31, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jeff CO

    Canning Commander Owens was uncalled for. Safety videos can be boring. Adding a bit of humor keeps the topic lively and gets the point across. They may have gone a tad over the line but a slight slap on the wrist and off you go was the right call. Now the Navy looses an experienced commander. What a waste.

    January 31, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. K12L

    Coming up next on the Sundance channel...well, maybe not...

    January 31, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jtt

    gee that's a shocker heh? the masters in charge hanging someone out to dry, what great leadership they show

    January 31, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Spock

    Someone call Bill Shatner and have him do a spoof of these–SNL style.

    January 31, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. The Truth

    As a former Naval Officer I have to say this man has no honor. From day 1 we are taught you are responsible for your own actions. Even if your actions are condoned by superiors YOU are still responsible for your actions. This is an act of a man who has no credible defense, so he plays the "nobody told me what I was doing is wrong card." A real Naval Officer does not need someone to tell him what he is doing is wrong, they should know that themselves. This excuse is second only to the "just following orders" excuse that cowards use when they are caught. If senior Officers did condone this it does not exonerate him, it only implicates them. So is he an excuse making coward or a "I go down so you go down" rat?

    January 31, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
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