Watch CBS News

Retired Navy captain apologizes after racial slurs streamed on Facebook

A former member of the U.S. Naval Academy alumni trustees issued an apology Sunday for using racial slurs on social media. Retired Capt. Scott Bethmann was asked to resign as a trustee on Saturday after a live conversation with his wife that was posted on Facebook disparaged admission by the academy of African Americans, Asian Americans and women.

CBS affiliate WJAX-TV reports the couple didn't appear to realize they were streaming via Facebook Live.

"There are no words that can appropriately express how mortified and apologetic my wife and I are about the insensitive things we said that were captured on social media," Bethmann said in the statement. "There is never a time when it is appropriate to use derogatory terms when speaking about our fellow man."

The comments were made by Bethmann and his wife, Nancy, while they were watching TV news and discussing the Black Lives Matter movement. The Florida Times-Union reports they were overheard using a slur for African Americans and making other racial comments on the Facebook Live feed.

The newspaper's report said that by the end of the 33-minute accidental stream, which mostly showed a black screen, the video shows Bethmann realizing he's live and pointing the camera at his cream colored couch. It said he began reading the comments aloud and asked, "What are they talking about?" before muttering "oops," and cutting the feed.

"These attributed statements do not represent the mission and values of the Alumni Association, the Naval Academy or the U.S. Navy," Retired Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III said in a statement. "As volunteer leaders in our communities, we must be inspirations and examples for all citizens."

Locklear, chairman of the academy's alumni association, said he accepted Bethmann's resignation as an alumni trustee and asked the chapter in Jacksonville, Florida, to appoint someone else to the position.

Locklear said there about 65,000 members of the Naval Academy alumni association.

In a statement, Jacksonville USNAAA Chapter President Caleb Cronic offered his own phone number for anyone who wants to "speak to me personally to ask questions, to grieve, or to help our chapter move forward, please reply to this email and we can have a personal phone conversation."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.