In this world of hyper accessibility, apparently it can be just as effortless to meet defeat as it can be to meet success. Putting material out there may be immediately within our grasp, but we need not ignore the responsibilities that can go along with that. Captain Owen Honors (oh, the irony of a name) has quite the story to illustrate this.
While it’s super easy to put your own content out there into the world for consumption, hopefully this story can remind us of the importance of a handful of really pervasive components, such as thinking about what kind of consequences could result, that there is a time and a place for certain material, knowing one’s audience, and being sensitive enough to not force our material on those who fall outside of that audience. We also need to realize that we can’t and won’t always be in control over whose eyes fall on our material.
There’s also the sometimes disheartening fact that the titles we hold in the real world can have certain expectations. Therefore consequences depend upon the other items listed above. All of these are potent factors that need not be overlooked.
So, what are your thoughts about what happened to Captain Honors? Do you agree with the course of action, or do you think it went too far?
With passion and gratitude,
Article originally found via Associated Press
Capt. Owen Honors in one of the coarse and sexually explicit videos he made and broadcast on the aircraft carrier Enterprise.
By Elisabeth Bumiller
January 4, 2011
A series of coarse and sexually explicit videos produced several years ago and shown to the crew of a Navy aircraft carrier by an officer who later became the ship’s captain has cost the officer his command.
The videos were broadcast to crew members on the aircraft carrier Enterprise via closed-circuit television in 2006 and 2007.
The officer, Capt. Owen Honors, was permanently relieved of his duties as captain of the nuclear-powered carrier, the Enterprise, on Tuesday, some two weeks before it is due to leave its home port at Norfolk, Va., to support combat missions in Afghanistan.
Adm. John C. Harvey Jr., the commander of the United States Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk, said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon that Captain Honors was removed for demonstrating poor judgment.
“The responsibility of the commanding officer for his or her command is absolute,” Admiral Harvey said in the statement. “ While Captain Honors’ performance as commanding officer of U.S.S. Enterprise has been without incident, his profound lack of good judgment and professionalism while previously serving as executive officer on Enterprise calls into question his character and completely undermines his credibility to continue to serve effectively in command.”
Admiral Harvey also said in the statement that after viewing the videos, he had lost confidence in Captain Honors’ ability to lead effectively.
The videos, which include scenes of simulated masturbation, simulated eating of feces and two men as well as two women showering together, were made by Captain Honors and shown as entertainment to some 6,000 sailors and Marines aboard the Enterprise in 2006 and 2007. The videos, which also include slurs against gay men, were disclosed over the weekend by a Norfolk newspaper, The Virginian-Pilot.
The Navy said on Sunday that the videos were “clearly inappropriate” and that it was investigating the circumstances surrounding their production.
Captain Honors, who was the ship’s executive officer and second in command when he made and starred in the videos, declined a request for comment on Monday. He was promoted to be the ship’s commanding officer in May. He was reassigned to administrative duties on Tuesday.
Navy officials had no explanation for why the videos, which were shown on the ship’s closed-circuit television system, surfaced publicly after several years, or why no officers on the Enterprise apparently raised questions about them when they were made and shown. The Virginian-Pilot said one crew member mailed a complaint about the videos to the Navy inspector general last week, and quoted other crew members who said they were ignored when they objected to the videos at the time they were shown.
The Virginian-Pilot also quoted a female sailor who said that she and a number of other women were offended by the videos, a view Captain Honors acknowledged on camera.
“Over the years, I’ve gotten several complaints about inappropriate materials in these videos, never to me personally but, gutlessly, through other channels,” Captain Honors said in one video. He went on to use a derogatory term for gay men and to say, “Why don’t you just go ahead and hug yourselves for the next 20 minutes or so, because there’s a really good chance you’re going to be offended.”
On Monday a leading military gay rights group denounced the captain. “Capt. Owen Honors was acting more like the president of a frat house rather than the executive officer of the U.S.S. Enterprise,” Aubrey Sarvis, an Army veteran and the executive director of the Service members Legal Defense Network, said in a statement.
The videos of the men and women showering together show no nudity; they are shot from the shoulders up in the case of the women and from the waist up in the case of the men.
Comic in-house videos are popular as morale boosters in the Navy as well as in the other branches of the armed services, but military officials said Captain Honors’s efforts were an extreme case.
By Monday evening, however, more than 1,700 people, including many former Enterprise crew members, had clicked “like” at a Facebook page supporting Captain Honors. The typical comment was that the videos were not only morale boosters but also funny and that the news media were overreacting.
“Honors was a great commander and those videos were in no way offensive to anybody that I knew on that ship,” wrote Ryan Mconnell, who said he was on board the Enterprise in 2006 and 2007. “I stand behind him 100 percent and I actually looked forward to his videos every week.”