Navy officials today are removing Capt. Owen Honors from the USS Enterprise, which is set to sail in just two weeks to assist in Afghanistan; a new commander will be named. The Navy announced this week Honors would be temporarily relieved of duty while he was investigated. And you can be sure: The decision was made with the consultation (or rather, insistence) of top Pentagon brass who are furious with Honors’ homophobic videos that were produced and distributed four years ago. Honors is not expected to be kicked out of the Navy, but this effectively ends his career trajectory. It’s unclear whether other top Navy officials will also face punishment for knowing about or aiding in the production and distribution of Honors’ videos, but there are at least a half dozen other high-ranking sailors being looked at.
Aww, and just when Honors’ sympathizers were starting to come forward. Like former Petty Officer Phillip Ciesla, who was a crew member on the Enterprise when Honors’ videos were released: “They were meant for our entertainment – you know, lighthearted laughter None of it was ever meant, you know, to be taken seriously. When you’re out to sea for months on end, you’re halfway around the world, and you’re working arduous hours – 15 to 18 hours a day, temperatures of 120 degrees or more in the Persian Gulf – morale starts to get a little low. And you just want a sense of normalcy, you know, something to boost your morale, just a little something to get you through your day, just a little laughter.”
But is Honors’ removal from his post an overreaction? The Navy says he was canned for showing a “profound lack of good judgment and professionalism.”
You can be sure conservative religious groups are making the argument via press release right this second that Honors should still have a job, and will use this as an opportunity to show how the military has been “hijacked by a special interest group” and how anti-gay religious beliefs will undoubtedly be infringed upon. But there’s also a very strong case to be made that any commander who uses derogatory language and slurs aimed at a specific demographic is simply not qualified to lead. Honors did not say “nigger” or “spic,” but if he had, should our feelings be any different? No. And neither should the Navy’s reaction.
Honors has not been fired. And when it comes time for him to retire, he will have a nice pension set up. He will not starve.
But if anything, the swift removal of a man who does not know referring to people as “fags” (especially while acting in his official capacity as a high-ranking Navy officer) sends the message this type of behavior will not be tolerated, from top to bottom.
Meanwhile, the Virginia-Pilot has released two more of Honors’ cache of videos.
This one features Honors joking about asking “the checkmates about being gay,” but how “that’s not a very good idea.” Oh, and two ladies showering together! And then two dudes showering together.
And this one has a nod to bestiality and poop!