Navy Captain, Owen Honors, of the USS Enterprise relieved from command after creating and showing lewd and anti-gay videos to his crew. Full story at the Guardian.UK.
“One of the videos opens with an unmistakable declaration of intent: “This evening, all you bleeding hearts and you fags … 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 tonight.”
There follows what are described as a series of “racy topics” – from a definition of the expletive “fuck” to plenty of simulated masturbation– including one in which Honors is seen in a dressing gown, glass of champagne in one hand and a cigar in the other.
The allegedly anti-gay theme continues with scenes of two men in a shower, one of them rubbing gel into the other’s chest as they are hunted down by Honors, followed by what he describes as “one that’s landed me the most complaints” – two women in the shower shown from the shoulders up.
In one of the later videos, Honors acknowledges that everyone is not happy. “Over the years I’ve gotten several complaints about inappropriate material during these videos, never to me personally but, gutlessly, through other channels,” he said. This did not deter him. After investigating Honors, who was promoted to captain of his ship in May, the Pentagon has reassigned him to administrative duties.”
A pressure group that campaigns on behalf of gay members of the military said that Honors was “acting like a 19-year-old fraternity boy”.
But some of Honors’s crew have rallied to his support with a Facebook page. A former petty officer, Phillip Ciesla, who served on the Enterprise under Honors, said he should not be stripped of his command. “He didn’t do it out of malice or cruelty. He did it to entertain his crew and boost our morale,” he told CBS. “They were meant for the crew only. For our … lighthearted laughter. None of it was meant to be taken seriously.”
Some commentators, citing the recent repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, that allowed gay people to serve in the military as long as their sexual orientation remained private, said the incident suggests it might be difficult to change attitudes within the military.
“The fact that you have a person that has risen this high in the service and has done this will legitimise those people who are opposed to the change in the policy,” said Lawrence J Korb, of the Center for American Progress thinktank, and a retired navy captain.”
I’ve read articles regarding this “occurence” in English (American and British), German and Russian. I’ve also read the comments from readers in those languages as well.
Even on websites which have viewership from those queried to approximately determination age, education and background, and were found to be college educated and middle class (the scariest group in the USA in my opinion), the comments were by strong majority deplorably sexist, homophobic, pro-religious “bash over people over the head with our beliefs” and often nasty.
While the comments I read at the Guardian.UK on this article were also perhaps by slight majority in support of the captain’s removal and censurous of his actions, even those those who supported him didn’t have the same tone of vehemence and/or hatred towards GLBTIIQ people or those who care about them.
A selection of insightful comments at G.UK:
“This idea that offending someone is justified for public entertainment, is the same idea that bullies use to justify their cruel behavior. No, public humiliation of others is not “entertainment”. It is not harmless humor. It is bullying and harassment.”-Maybel
“Calling anyone who wishes to complain anonymously “gutless” is a most telling fact about Captain Honor’s social ineptitude.
This makes it clear that he doesn’t understand that someone of inferior rank would quite rationally worry about retribution that might result from openly calling into question the judgment of one’s superiors.”-Kate2468
“I’ve noticed that the right-wing commenters, instead of showing their concern that a captain of one of our most powerful nuclear warships was acting in a totally unprofessional and emotionally retarded manner, instead, they themselves are posting childish, bigoted, tantrums at “liberals” and gays.
These “gays” are willing to die for you and our nation. Are YOU? And, why are they dying for a country, who hates their guts and denies them their freedom to be who they are? They homosexuals are willing to protect your right to hate them…would you have the courage to do that? No. Because bigotry and racism are the products of a weak mind, not a strong one.
I think the republican comments show the level of hate, bigotry, fear, social irresponsiblity, emotional backwardness and intellectual laziness that spurs the conservative mind here in America. They hate many of their fellow Americans, every bit as much as any terrorist does.”-NancyG
(My addition to Nancy’s comment: “Unfortunately as well, the biases, discriminatory attitudes and general lack of empathy and/or knowledge of other members of the gay community can also take place within the gay community.”)
“As usual, posters are missing the true point.
If the captain was showing this video to boost morale than he should be removed for incompetence.
Leaders don’t need to put someone else down to boost morale. Only incompetent “wanna be”‘s need to do that so this guy PROVED that he doesn’t deserve the position.”-amccoy
“Being a gay man from the deep south in the bible belt of the USA, I’ve seen and heard it all in my 50 or so years. I don’t get offended by much anymore. Everyone seems to be focusing on the “gays being offended” aspect of the captains behavior when it seems to me the point is, he acted in a purely unprofessional manner for his position. If it had been the CEO of a major corporation making disparaging remarks about women, blacks, Hispanics or any other minority his head would be on the block by the shareholders at the least and up on charges of discrimination in the courts most likely. This incident is what it is, pure simple unprofessional conduct and he should be held accountable for it.”-kgeo56
I feel you, brother.
I’ve no need to directly add my own thoughts on this situation. They are represented in the comments these people already made.
My only personal insight would be that from my experiences in the similar setting of law enforcement where women, and those of “questionable sexual preference” are now more accepted though it continues to be a “hetero male” dominated profession, regular sexually derogatory comments, inappropriate jokes and treatment continues to be rife in the US. I use the US specifically as it’s the country I worked in law enforcement, though I am aware of it taking place in other countries as well.
Yes, most of us endure it and survive it, but it can take it’s toll. It is completely unnecessary and should not be allowed. I’m not saying it could not be alleviated or, even as some gay people say that’s it’s something which will always be around, but officers and military personnel receive their cues from the chain of command. If the chain of command continues to allow, or in this situation produced anti-gay mockery which could be seen to support discrimination or at least foster it, the situation is not going to improve.
Bottom line. It needs to stop being tolerated by anyone for any reason.