These days a Navy man can get into deep trouble for using foul language or swear words. Navy Lieutenant Brian Black, a member of the faculty at the U.S. Naval Academy faces a special court-martial and three criminal charges for allegedly using foul and sexually suggestive language in the presence of an especially sensitive female midshipman.
Black‘s attorney, Charles Gittins, says the Navy is making an example of his client so show it‘s serious about rooting out sexual harassment at the academy.
Gittins joined Tucker Carlson on ‘Situation’ to discuss his client’s case.
To read an excerpt from their conversation, continue to the text below. To watch the video, click on the "Launch" button to the right.
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, 'SITUATION': I think a lot of our viewers have got to be staring in disbelief and thinking there must be more to this story. Your client must have done something appalling to this midshipman to wind up being court-martialed. Tell us briefly what exactly he did.
CHARLES GITTINS, BRIAN BLACK‘S ATTORNEY: He had a couple of conversations that female midshipmen overheard. He was speaking with men.
CARLSON: He wasn‘t even speaking to the women here?
GITTINS: No, no most cases not. In one particular case he did speak to the midshipmen Fox personally, and he said something that was probably not appropriate.
CARLSON: What did he say?
GITTINS: It certainly wasn‘t a crime. I can‘t repeat it on here.
CARLSON: Characterize it for—did he say I want to sleep with you? I mean, give us one sense of what he said.
GITTINS: He commented on a battleship and how battleships got him excited.
CARLSON: Give him an erection looking at a battleship, basically.
CARLSON: That‘s it?
GITTINS: And said something to the female, about, you know, doesn‘t it do the same for you? And the midshipman responded and then my client realized that he‘d gone probably over the line. And he cut off the conversation, and he apologized for it the following day.
He apologized and the midshipmen accepted his apology and she considered the matter closed. She had no intention of making a sexual harassment claim.
Another female officer, who didn‘t particularly care for my client decided to bring it to the attention of the superintendent of the naval academy, who‘s under a lot of pressure for the handling of sexual assaults at the naval academy..
CARLSON: But according to the “Washington Post,‘ this midshipman, Foxton.
GITTINS: That‘s correct.
CARLSON: Whose name is not being disclosed by the “Washington Post,” because the case involved sexual harassment charges, like she‘s been raped or something.
Choked up as she testified yesterday, choked up, saying she was, quote, appalled by Black‘s comments. So it sounds like she was deeply wounded by his saying that he was aroused by a battleship.
GITTINS: Well, during the course of the apology with another midshipman present, she actually told my client that she went to another officer to find out if she should be offended. And she told my client with another midshipman present that she hears worse language in the hall all the time.
CARLSON: Is this midshipman of if the people who are supposed to be defending our country from armed invaders.
GITTINS: Yes, she is. It‘s very sad.
CARLSON: Do you think that she‘s up to that task, someone who‘s, quote, appalled by someone saying he‘s aroused by a battle ship. Do you think she‘s going to be ready to face down the people who want to kill us?
GITTINS: No. The problem is we‘re babying midshipman at the Naval Academy.
CARLSON: So what could happen to your client? What kind of punishment is he facing?
GITTINS: A federal conviction for using inappropriate language.
CARLSON: So what does that mean?
GITTINS: A federal conviction is a federal conviction. He could be denied the right to vote. He could be denied the right to possess a firearm. It‘s a terrible thing.
CARLSON: It‘s actually shocking. Now, your contention is the academy or the Navy itself is using him as an example to show that they‘re cracking down on sexual harassment. Is sexual harassment, getting better, do you think, at the Naval academy?
GITTINS: Well, I don‘t think the midshipmen are being provided the correct definition of sexual harassment. There‘s a book that the Navy puts out that midshipman, who I questioned under had never seen before.
If you‘ve got a problem with sexual harassment, you ought to be putting out the Navy‘s booklet on how to handle it and how to handle inappropriate behavior and interactions between adult males and females.
CARLSON: I couldn‘t agree more. And I must say, just again, the idea that our country is supposedly being defended by people who can‘t even handle, you know, dirty word in public, who choke up remembering someone using a naughty phrase, just makes me shiver.
I mean, people like that are not capable of protecting anyone, much less our nation.