A Navy admiral on Thursday recommended that the captain who produced and starred in a series of raunchy videos shown to thousands of sailors aboard the USS Enterprise be censured along with three other high-ranking officers.
Capt. Owen P. Honors Jr. was the aircraft carrier's No. 2 officer when he helped produce and appeared in the series of videos that aired between 2005 and 2007 on the ship's closed-circuit TV station during weekly movie nights. He was relieved of command this January after Navy leaders learned about the videos from media reports.
The head of U.S. Fleet Forces Command, Adm. John Harvey Jr., also recommended that Honors undergo a hearing to show cause for why he should remain in the Navy.
The three other officers recommended for censure were Rear Adms. Ron Horton and Larry Rice, both former commanders of the Enterprise; and Honors' successor on the Enterprise, Capt. John Dixon. The letters have the potential to hinder the officers' careers.
A letter of censure does not end a military officer's career, but it makes it unlikely that the officer will be promoted. Generally in the U.S. military, those who don't have potential to move up in the ranks aren't encouraged to stay in.
The Navy's investigation found that Honors had produced at least 25 videos with inappropriate scenes. The videos, produced on the ship and broadcast to the crew during deployments between October 2005 and December 2007, included anti-gay slurs, sailors of both genders in shower scenes and salty language.
Many sailors aboard the ship when the videos aired have since said they were intended to be humorous and maintain morale on long deployments.
Harvey acknowledged many of the videos were wildly popular with the crew, but he said that didn't make them appropriate.
"People looked forward to these things," he said. "They were entertaining in all the wrong ways and they appealed to all the wrong instincts and it was the executive officer who led this parade downward."
The Navy said its investigation has focused on all aspects of the production of the videos, including the actions of other senior officers who knew about the videos and what actions they took in response
Another 32 sailors who had a role in the videos received letters from Harvey letting them know they had demonstrated poor behavior or judgment, although those letters are private.
Honors' civilian attorney, Charles W. Gittins, has said that if Honors had been told to stop producing and broadcasting the videos, he would have done so. Gittins did not immediately return a message Thursday night. A listing was not immediately available for the others recommended for censure.
While many sailors under Honors command have defended him, Harvey disagreed that the videos were harmless efforts to boost morale.
"Vulgar language and insensitive and sexually tinged attempts at humor such as that displayed in the Enterprise videos is now an everyday part of our popular culture, and endless examples can be found on cable television and the movies," Harvey said in a statement.