The Navy said Sunday it will investigate "clearly inappropriate" videos broadcast to the crew of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in which a top officer of the ship used anti-gay slurs, mimicked masturbation and opened the shower curtain on women pretending to bathe together.
The star of the videos, made in 2006 and 2007, is a former Top Gun pilot who now commands the same ship, the Norfolk-based USS Enterprise, which was deployed in the Middle East at the time and is weeks from deploying again.
The Virginian-Pilot newspaper reported on the videos in its Saturday editions and posted an edited version of one video on its website.
Capt. Owen Honors appeared in the videos while he was the USS Enterprise's executive officer -- the second in command -- and they aired on the ship's closed-circuit television. Honors took over as the ship's commander in May.
It's not immediately known why the videos are surfacing now. The Virginian-Pilot quoted anonymous crew members who said they raised concerns aboard the ship about the videos when they aired, but they were brushed off.
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.
In the same segment, Honors uses a derogatory term for gays.
Cmdr. Chris Sims, Navy spokesman, said in a statement that the videos "were not acceptable then and are not acceptable in today's Navy."
Executive officers and other leaders "are charged to lead by example and are held accountable for setting the proper tone and upholding the standards of honor, courage and commitment that we expect sailors to exemplify," he said.
Sims said U.S. Fleet Forces Command "has initiated an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the production of these videos."
In a statement to the Virginian-Pilot on Friday, however, the Navy said it had put a stop to videos with "inappropriate content" on the Enterprise several years ago.