ABC News is reporting that the U.S. Navy will “temporarily” relieve Capt. Owen Honors from his post while they investigate a series of explicit videos he hosted and reportedly produced while serving as the XO or second in command of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise. Those videos were made from 2006 to 2007 and featured sexist and homophobic content that have outraged some who argued that the XO, responsible for discipline on the ship, should not try to befriend the crew. They argue Owens broke several military rules of conduct and decorum. Others feel the videos, while “inappropriate,” were more frat boy-type pranks designed to relax an isolated crew deployed at sea in support of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
A spokesperson for the Navy’s Fleet Force Command said in a statement that “the Navy does not endorse or condone these kinds of actions.” ABC News reports that the debate over the videos “raged on the Enterprise’s Facebook page today, with many sailors and others coming to Capt. Honors’ defense.”
UPDATE: MSNBC is now reporting that Honors will be relieved of duty permanently, effectively ending his career. There will be a news conference about the incident at 10:00am Pacific. Meanwhile, the net is all a-twitter about Sarah Palin reposting a tweet from openly lesbian conservative commentator Tammy Bruce – which some suggest indicates Palin is not antigay. (See more inside).
On ABC News’ “Good Morning America” today Lt. Carey Lohrenz, a former female Navy pilot, also defended Capt. Honors, saying the video had been taken out of context.
“I think it’s important to remember this is being taken, to a certain extent, out of context,” Lohrenz said. “We need to proceed very cautiously when we just automatically have a really strong reaction and say, ‘Hey, this guy needs to be out of there.”
Not everyone on the page defended Capt. Honors’ behavior.
“A laugh shouldnt come from such offensive material especially from such a high ranking officer,” wrote Benjamin Daniel Jenkins, whose comment received many angry replies from Honors’ supporters.
Other retired military officials disagreed with Captain Honors’ videos, regardless of the context.
“I’ll laugh along with South Park along with everyone else but that’s not his job. He’s the senior leadership on that ship, he sets the tone of what is appropriate and what is not. You can bring comedians on the ship and that is good for morale, but that’s not his role on this ship,” retired Marine Corps Col. Steve Ganyard, a former F-18 pilot who commanded an Air Group, told ABC News.
This incident comes just before the expected certification of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – which will directly challenge the acceptability of sexism and homophobia in military culture.
Here’s the latest controversy via the Huffington Post:
“Sarah Palin stirred the Twittersphere Monday evening when she retweeted a pro-gay message by lesbian conservative commentator Tammy Bruce concerning the “hypocrisy” of homophobic and anti-gay actions.
“But this hypocrisy is just truly too much. Enuf already–the more someone complains about the homos the more we should look under their bed,” Bruce wrote Monday, reportedly about the dismissal of U.S. Navy Captain Owen Honors, following the release of a series of controversial videos made aboard the USS Enterprise that featured gay slurs, cross-dressing, and simulated same-sex encounters.
Max Read at Gawker suggest that this means Palin is:
“coming out in support of DADT repeal and gay rights. Bruce thinks that Palin is expressing her point of view on “DADT, treatment of gays & attempts to marginalize us.” Which isn’t out of the question–Palin is not, in the context of her party, rabidly homophobic, and her stance on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was limited to a sort of feeble “not right now” back in February. So, yes, maybe reality ungulate-shooter Sarah Palin is expressing her solidarity with gay soldier-types via microblogging. What a blow for the forces of freedom and openness!
While some have wondered about whether it is a good idea to make such an announcement by rebroadcasting a message that refers to gay people as “homos,” Tammy Bruce has since defended Palin on her Twitter page, and even claimed that “I know Gov Palin & this “anti-gay” meme has been a lie–plain & simple. She’s a decent woman & friend to the community.”
Check out David Badash’s piece over at The New Civil Rights Movement - he sets the record “straight” about Palin and the gays.