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SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake Tribune suspended columnist Robert Kirby Friday for three months without pay following an investigation into his conduct at a conference two months ago, the newspaper reported.
Provo-based blogger Courtney Kendrick appeared with Kirby at a Sunstone Symposium in July.
She posted on social media last week that she felt “belittled and embarrassed” after Kirby "made sexually tinged comments," talked her into consuming an edible dose of marijuana, then mocked her in front of the audience by saying she was high, according to the Tribune.
Tribune Editor Jennifer Napier-Pearce said in a statement Friday that managers looked into “multiple complaints,” and concluded that Kirby's actions violated company policy.
“We believe that Kirby’s agreement to suspend employment, undergo coaching and attend training reflects his sincere commitment to change,” Napier-Pearce's statement said in part.
Kirby apologized in a written statement. According to the Tribune, part of his statement said, “I’m profoundly sorry that my actions have offended people in the community. I have a lot of work to do in understanding the pain I have caused."
Kendrick told the Deseret News that she hopes some good can come from it.
"As I've said all along, my posting was never about apologies or punishments, it was about making my community aware of problematic behavior by so-called progressive men," Kendrick said.
"I hope good comes out of this — that more women can find their voices when it matters most. I also hope men reconsider their reactions to women when they tell the truth. It's not a joke and it's not entertainment," the Deseret News quoted her as saying.
Salt Lake City public radio station KUER first mentioned both Kendrick's story and Kirby's apology on Thursday.
Kirby has been a columnist for the Salt Lake Tribune for 25 years, the newspaper reported.