Who is Gary Kirby? Florida anti-masker hosts all-male strip show allowing performers to display genitals
Kirby had earlier announced he would eject patrons who visit the Westside Sports Bar and Grill wearing a mask
WEST MELBOURNE, FLORIDA: The owner of a bar has been charged after hosting an illegal adult show, police have confirmed. West Melbourne police have charged Gary Kirby on one count of operating an adult entertainment establishment in violation of municipal ordinance. Kirby was booked at the Brevard County Jail, before being released on a $250 bond.
According to the arrest affidavit, Kirby previously exchanged emails with police over the legality of such performances. Despite police warning him it was illegal, he went ahead with the 'Men of Utopia' show. He even advertised the event on Facebook, leading undercover cops with body cameras to attend and arrest Kirby at the venue.
Back in September, Kirby was at the receiving end of severe trolling and backlash after he announced he would eject patrons who visit the Westside Sports Bar and Grill with a mask. The controversy earned him fame, with many local and national outlets reporting on the matter. Here's a detailed look at Kirby's life, and how he ended up getting arrested.
Who is Gary Kirby?
The 33-year-old Kirby is a native of Florida. According to his Facebook page, Kirby is from Coral Springs. His father, Gary L. Kirby is a musician who has one album to his name. It's unclear when he moved to West Melbourne, but it is probably some time in 2019. On March 4, 2019, he started a job as the owner at Westside Sports Bar & Lounge, around the time the bar announced a change in ownership. Like his father, Kirby is also a musician and has posted several images on social media. In May 2015, he played live at the Off The Traxx Sports Bar & Grille in Melbourne.
Kirby's Facebook indicates he is married with two young children. It is unclear who Kirby's wife is since she isn't tagged in any of the photos. According to the photos, he has one daughter and a son.
Kirby is a well-known anti-masker who has shared multiple anti-mask posts on social media. From September 11, 2020, he banned patrons with masks from his bar. In an interview with Fox 35 Orlando, he said masks are "hindering our lifestyle as we know it.” He also argued that masks make it hard for staff to identify if a patron has been overserved. He also claims that masks make it easier for criminals.
Kirby alleged that the bar was burgled by a man in a surgical mask on August 9. He said, "criminals would be capitalizing on the mask mandate all over using it to their advantage to get away with crimes." The police also reportedly received a complaint about the burglary, but any attempts to investigate have been hindered by none other than Kirby himself. According to The New York Post, police said that Kirby has been “uncooperative” with any attempts to investigate the burglary further and has refused to meet with detectives.
News of the mask ban made Kirby a target for trolls, with many leaving bad reviews on the bar's pages. He also received a lot of support for the move, with many praising his decision. Kirby acknowledged that he would be taking temperatures at the door and that any employees diagnosed with the virus would need two negative tests before returning to work. However, he put his foot down against masks, which are optional in Florida.
On March 19, the bar put out a post on Facebook advertising its Male Revue event. Despite police telling him the event was illegal, Kirby went ahead with it anyway. Police then visited the event undercover with cameras, recording the violation. According to the arrest affidavit, dancers violated multiple rules by giving lap dances, displaying their genitals, and touching customers "in certain areas of their bodies".
On being arrested, Kirby acknowledged that he knew the event was illegal. Reports have not indicated when he will have to appear in court. It is unclear as of now if the bar will reopen.