The U.S. Navy has launched an investigation into the production of raunchy videos aboard a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, NBC News reported Sunday.
The videos portray women sailors taking showers and include references to masturbation and bestiality. They were apparently produced by or with the consent of the current commander of the USS Enterprise, Capt. Owen Honors.
The videos were produced four to five years ago but have only now been publicly released, according to NBC News.
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According to senior Navy officials, the videos — which were apparently produced for the crew's entertainment and as a "morale booster" — first surfaced when Honors was executive officer of the ship. A senior Navy official told NBC News that although senior officers up the chain of command were aware of the videos at the time, Honors and others were simply told to "knock it off" and there was apparently no formal disciplinary action taken.
Although the Enterprise is scheduled to deploy within weeks, Navy officials told NBC News in light of the investigation it appeared unlikely Honors would command the ship. When asked about the video, one senior navy official described it as "pretty bad."
Excerpts from the videos and descriptions of their content were first published Saturday by The Virginian-Pilot newspaper in Norfolk, Va.
"The videos created onboard USS Enterprise in 2006-2007 and written about in The Virginian-Pilot article on Saturday, January 1, 2011, are clearly inappropriate," the Navy said in a written statement.
"Production of videos, like the ones produced four to five years ago on USS Enterprise and now being written about in The Virginian-Pilot, were not acceptable then and are not acceptable in today's Navy," the statement added. "The Navy does not endorse or condone these kinds of actions."
In the videos, Honors indicates that he's trying to entertain the crew, the newspaper reported. They were shown roughly once a week on closed-circuit shipwide television, according to a handful of sailors. According to The Virginian-Pilot, the sailors requested their names not be used for fear of reprisals.Video: Navy brass under fire for raunchy video (on this page)
It's clear from the videos that Honors had already gotten complaints when some of them were made. "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 in the introduction to the video posted by the newspaper.
Honors did not respond to requests by the newspaper for comment. Neither did the Enterprise's then-commanding officer, Larry Rice, who was later promoted to the rank of the rear admiral and had been assigned to the Norfolk-based U.S. Joint Forces Command, but is no longer there, a spokeswoman said.
"This evening, all of you bleeding hearts... why don't just go ahead and hug yourself for the next 20 minutes or so, because there's a really good chance you're gonna be offended," Honors says in the video, posted on the newspaper's website.
Then Honors tells the audience to get ready for something that always pleases: "the F-bomb." The video goes on to show a string of clips in which he uses the expletive. The next part of the video shows Honors and other sailors pretending to masturbate in a variety of situations.
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The video then moves on to a different subject. "Finally, let's get to my favorite topic - something foreign to the gay kid over there: chicks in the shower," he says.
Commissioned in 1961, the Enterprise is the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. It is scheduled to sail two more deployments before it is decommissioned in 2013. It can carry a crew of more than 5,800.
The video posted by the newspaper included clips of past "movies" Honors had made — including several statements in which he holds his higher-ups blameless for the material.
"As usual, the admiral and the captain have no idea about the contents of the video or movie this evening, and they should not be held accountable in any judicial setting," Honors says.
NBC News' Jim Miklaszewski and Courtney Kube and The Associated Press contributed to this report.