The U.S. Navy will temporarily relieve Capt. Owen Honors of his post pending investigation of the series of explicit videos he is said to have produced when he was second in command of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, sources tell ABC News.
Capt. Honors is under investigation for a series of raunchy videos in which he appeared from 2006 to 2007. The videos featured a series of skits that aimed to provide some humor during the long deployment at sea. At the time the videos were produced, the Enterprise was operating in support of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
But the skits were clearly offensive to many people. A leaked version of one video, first reported by the Virginian-Pilot newspaper on Saturday, contained derogatory references to homosexuals and was filled with profanity. At one point in the video, Honors introduces a scene in which two female sailors pretend to wash each other in the shower by saying that "chicks in the shower" were his "favorite topic."
In another scene, male sailors dressed in drag mimic masturbation. In another, sailors simulate a rectal exam.
Calling the videos "inappropriate," a spokesman for the Navy's Fleet Force Command said in a statement that "the Navy does not endorse or condone these kinds of actions."
The debate over the videos raged on the Enterprise's Facebook page today, with many sailors and others coming to Capt. Honors' defense.
"I served on Enterprise for the last three years of my 21 year Navy Career. I would love to go to sea with a man like this that can lighten up a extremely stressful job," wrote one, Gordon Wilcox.
"We all looked forward to those videos from Honors while underway. We can not ruin a good mans career for the sake of petty political correctness," wrote another, Shaun Valentine.
"I too was on that deployment. Capt. Honors brought up our morale and provided well needed and appreciated comic relief. We were underway for long durations, supporting two theaters of war simultaneously, he brought many smiles to a worn out & tired crew. I can easily say that all of the crew, ship's company & air wing embarked, appreciated the videos," wrote Chief Petty Officer Andrew Hodyl.
USS Enterprise: Debate Over Videos Hits Facebook
Some suggested there was more to the story than the clips that were leaked to the press.
"The clips being shown on the news are out of context and edited to look vulgar," Melissa Nielson posted, calling the reporting a "witch hunt."
"Where are the inspirational messages to the crew that were aired?" she asked.
Several posters had changed their Facebook profile pictures to Captain Owens' official Navy photograph.
Wes Stooksbury, one of those who changed their photos, wrote, "To whichever 'loyal' crewmember has betrayed your captain: It's stunts like that that make me wish the days of corporal punishment were still around. You need to be keel-hauled. Shame on you for potentially destroying at least one great man's career, possibly two now that they have opened an investigation into Admiral [Larry] Rice's involvement. But, alas, you hid behind anonymity like the coward you are."
"I'm ashamed that Capt. Honors is being investigated for this BS. He did his time and served his country as I, and many others have. I am one of those who enjoyed not only his PRESENCE, but also his leadership," Justin Thomson wrote.