US & Canada

USS Enterprise videos: Navy admiral calls for censure

The USS Enterprise
Image caption The USS Enterprise, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, has a crew of 5,800 officers and sailors

A US Navy admiral has recommended that the Navy censure senior officers of the USS Enterprise over a series of lewd videos produced on the ship.

Adm John Harvey urged the potentially career-ending punishment for Capt Owen Honors and three others, and called for 32 other officers to be cautioned.

Videos featuring Capt Honors included anti-gay slurs, women in the shower together and simulated masturbation.

Capt Honors was relieved of command of the aircraft carrier over the matter.

'Crew morale'

In a news conference on Thursday, Adm Harvey, the head of US Fleet Forces Command, said the videos apparently produced in 2006 and 2007 showed poor judgement and undermined the credibility of the USS Enterprise leadership.

Capt Honors was the carrier's executive officer when the videos were made and broadcast on the ship's CCTV channel on weekly movie nights.

His supporters say he produced them to boost crew morale.

In one of the films, the officer introduces a scene where two female sailors pretend to bathe together, saying "chicks in the shower" is his "favourite topic".

In another scene, male sailors dressed in drag mimic masturbation. Other clips in the video show a man in drag and a mock rectal examination.

"Over the years I've gotten several complaints about inappropriate material during these videos, never to me personally but, gutlessly, through other channels," Capt Honors says in the introduction to one video.

On Thursday, Adm Harvey said he recommended censure for Capt Honors, another captain who succeeded him as its executive officer and two former commanding officers of the ship.

Censure can potentially end an officer's career, because the blemish can keep an officer from promotion, and officers who do not rise in the ranks are encouraged to leave the service.

In addition, Adm Harvey recommended Capt Honors be summoned to a hearing to explain why he should remain in the Navy.

Adm Harvey said the videos continued to be made because senior officers aboard the USS Enterprise, a nuclear-powered ship with a crew of about 5,800 officers and sailors, were "themselves the source of the problem".

He said he recognised the "vulgar language, insensitive and sexually tinged attempts at humour" of the type seen in the videos was an everyday part of American popular culture, but said airing the tapes was not appropriate.

"Navy leaders are not popular entertainers but professionals vested with extraordinary military authority," he told reporters.

Capt Honors's civilian attorney has said he would have stopped producing the videos if he had been asked.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites