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Scott Bethmann: Retired Navy captain apologizes after racial slurs streamed on Facebook

CNN logo CNN 6/8/2020 By Melissa Alonso and Susannah Cullinane, CNN
a person standing next to a boat: Retired Navy Captain Scott Bethmann and his wife Nancy. © Bethmann family Retired Navy Captain Scott Bethmann and his wife Nancy.

A retired US Navy captain who used derogatory language and racial slurs during a conversation with his wife that was accidentally live streamed on Facebook says he is "mortified" and working to be a better person.

Scott Bethmann resigned from the US Naval Academy Alumni Association board after he accidentally streamed the conversation with his wife Nancy, according to a statement from the alumni association and a family spokesperson.

Bethmann and his wife were live on Facebook for more than 30 minutes, discussing recent events around the country, according to audio obtained by CNN affiliate WJXT.

Bethmann is heard using the N-word and complaining about not being able to speak his mind, saying, "The white m*****f*****s can't say anything. That's the point we're making here, Nancy."

His wife is heard in the recording talking about "F****** Asians from China who love to steal all of our intellectual property."

Bethmann's Facebook page has since been removed.

'We are deeply sorry'

In a statement issued through a family spokesperson, Bethmann said it was never appropriate "to use derogatory terms when speaking about our fellow man."

"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," he said.

"I know that an apology from us rings hollow on many ears in our community, especially in the current environment. We intend on using this experience as an opportunity to grow, listen, learn, and reflect.

"We are deeply sorry for the impact our actions have had on the Naval Academy, my fellow servicemen and women, our former colleagues, friends, family, and the community as a whole. We are committed to educating ourselves more on the racial inequalities in this country and being better people."

'Honor, courage and commitment'

The Jacksonville chapter of the Naval Academy Alumni Association said Bethmann had resigned from the board, which held an emergency meeting Saturday to discuss moving forward.

"The nature of those comments are not consistent with our volunteer leadership mission," or the Navy, the alumni association said in a Facebook post.

It said discrimination was not tolerated in its values of "honor, courage and commitment."

Bethmann was the chapter treasurer and national trustee, the post said.

The U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association Board of Trustees' chairman, retired Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, said the "statements do not represent the mission and values of the Alumni Association, the Naval Academy or the U.S. Navy."

Locklear said in a statement that the association represented "more than 65,000 individuals from diverse backgrounds and perspectives."

He continued: "As an alumni organization, we seek to be an inspiration for all young people who want to become future Navy and Marine Corps officers. We will continue to honor that inspirational role. We are all in this together. We must face the challenges of today and all future challenges of tomorrow ... together."

CNN has made attempts to speak to Bethmann and has reached out to the Naval Academy Alumni Association.

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