Mormon ‘Humorist’ Robert Kirby Is Butt of His Own Dirty Joke ( )

Why would an avuncular Mormon writer ask a woman he’s just met to pretend she’s a whore and he’s the john who has purchased her services?

To me, the most likely answer is: because that’s how he wants to treat her.

This isn’t a hypothetical: it happened between Salt Lake Tribune humorist Robert Kirby and Mormon blogger C. Jane Kendrick (aka Courtney Clark Kendrick) at the Sunstone Symposium in July. In response to Kirby’s column this week criticizing McKenna Denson, who is suing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints over its role in an alleged attempted rape by a high-ranking church official, Kendrick posted on Facebook her account of Kirby’s behavior:

In July I met Robert Kirby for the first time just before I did a Sunstone session with him. The very first thing he said to me when we were alone in the convention center hallway was, “Let’s pretend I picked you up from an escort service and we’ll walk over to that table over there together and sit down and chat.”

Kirby posted an apology Thursday on his page, acknowledging that “much of what she describes in her account took place, albeit without some of the more sinister intentions many have alluded to.” 

Kirby’s defenders may likely protest that my framing of the interaction also exhibits “sinister intentions.” So let’s consider two other framings. 

Kirby didn’t appear to be asking for sex. Instead, he seems to have wanted a fantasy to surround his interactions with Kendrick.


Why would a well-established male journalist say to a female blogger young enough to be his daughter, “Hey, even though there’s no reason to sexualize our interactions, let’s sexualize