TB Investigates

Investigating Kylie Kirkpatrick Part 5: Fraudulent Sign Language Interpreting, Ripping Off And Suing The Deaf Community

 

  part 2, part 3 and

We’ve spent the last two weeks writing about Napa, CA mother Kylie Kilpatrick for teaching her son to lie, using the death of the father her son never met in order to gain benefits, and a variety of other ugly actions. When I first began blogging about her she attempted to smear me as a racist hate blogger, and made up baseless accusations about sexual harassment and my reasoning for leaving the world of public education.

These sort of tactics are nothing new to the people of Napa, who she has been attacking for years now. The viciousness of her smear campaigns has increased significantly in the last six months due to the justified criticism people have levied against the local media for not reporting on Kylie’s true character.

Some of her first victims were members of the deaf community. Kylie was featured in a story in the Napa Valley Register in 2013 (shortly after getting off probation) because she was doing sign language interpreting at a local event called BottleRock. The NVR has a long and documented history of legitimizing this woman, despite a plethora of respected members of the community voicing concerns about her behavior. The story was a typical puff piece.

“Afterward, when people came up and told me they thought I was on tour together with them, I thought, ‘Wow, this is incredible!’” said Kylie Kirkpatrick, a freelance sign language interpreter for the last decade and one of two interpreters who relayed comedy performances at BottleRock to hearing-impaired spectators.

The 36-year-old Kirkpatrick gained her affinity for signing starting in her grade-school years, when she befriended a deaf classmate.

“I asked him to teach me his language, and I fell in love with it,” she recalled last week. “To me, the movement of hands was very romantic, very beautiful, very hypnotic, and I wanted to learn that and be a part of that world.”

After studying American Sign Language at Santa Rosa Junior College and spending three years working at a group home for deaf children, Kirkpatrick became an interpreter working a variety of events, from weddings and funerals to hospital briefings and political meetings. But by her own admission, the move to signing stand-up comedy was a leap into the unknown, starting with a cold call to BottleRock organizers a month before the music and comedy event.

But it wasn’t a “cold call” she made to the BottleRock organizers. According to sources she threatened to report them for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act if they didn’t hire her.
“A couple days before the festival she contacted the man putting it on and told him they needed to hire an interpreter or they would be fined heavily.”

And just like she’s done with her son, she attempted to use her alleged mastery of sign language for clout.

After opening a Twitter feed on BottleRock’s conclusion, Kirkpatrick began attracting online followers including comedian Margaret Cho and actress Erin Sanders, perhaps opening a path to more stage performances.

She also bragged about what a hero she was, as is her M.O.

“There was one woman who met me afterward, an audiologist whose mom was deaf,” she said. “And she told me her mom would have been blown away. She told me she’s worked with deaf people all her life, but not every (signer) could do what I did.

“It’s humbling to be welcomed into people’s lives. Weddings, funerals, comedy, the trust people have in us is incredible. If there’s one person who gets why I’m out there, then I’ve done my job.”

Except Kylie wasn’t properly certified at the time, and many in the Deaf community complained that she wasn’t signing correctly, often left events early, and sought out deaf people as a way to get into concerts for free.

She ironically has called out other ASL interpreters and urged the media to “stop praising this destructive, fame seeking psychopath.”

Not her first time posting something like that.

In May of 2016 Kylie had gotten a job teaching ASL at Napa Valley Community College.

This surprised many in the deaf community who already knew her to be a fraud. Especially since Kylie only recently graduated from college and posted that she was properly certified.

At a 2016 Bernie Sanders rally in California, Kylie strong-armed her way into an ASL interpreter gig like she’s done many time before. However, it was later discovered that she was scheduled and paid to be teaching a class at that time, and urged her students to attend the rally by offering them credits if they did. There were more experienced interpreters who applied to get the gig, but Kylie beat them to it by contacting the company the Sanders campaign contracted with in Iowa. After several members of the Deaf community complained that Kylie was signing incorrectly during the rally, they contacted Deaf Services Unlimited, who admitted they did not do a background search on Kylie before hiring her. She was put on their no contact list shortly thereafter.

At a recent convention for Wentworth (the Australian version of Orange is the New Black), Kylie was hired as an ASL interpreter. The same man who saw her at the Bernie rally was shocked to see that three years later Kylie was still being hired.

I contacted Wentworth Con to ensure that they will be providing ASL interpreters for this event. I received a code, and confirmed that the event will be interpreted. I purchased my ticket. I booked a room, and bought a round-trip ticket (to LA). As I walking approaching to my seat, I saw a lady signing – I prayed it was no Kylie, and it turned out it was her. I was shocked and surprised that she was here interpreting. Kylie had approached the Event Coordinator and asked if there would be an interpreter at this event, and mentioned that she is the interpreter and would be willing to interpret. The agreement she said was to have them buy her round-trip ticket to LAX, paid lunch, t-shirt and small interpreting fees (she signed “small pay”).

There were total of 4 Wentworth Stars (actors).  She interpreted all four Q&A platform.  Then at the last Q&A from the last star left the stage, the announcer was talking, and Kylie was walking with other 2 elder Deaf people out of the ballroom. There were only 3 signers including myself who were still there. I came back a little before 5 pm for the raffle drawing.  Luckily, I did not purchase any raffle ticket because if I did I would probably lose my winning prize if I was even present. One other Deaf guy asked me if the interpreter was coming and I told him I had no idea. Then other 2 ladies (1 Deaf and 1 hearing) came and sat. One signed “where cook”?  I immediately recognized the sign “cook” since it’s the international sign for interpreter.  We were appalled that Kylie did not came back.  After getting the actors’ autographs, I went back to my room and e-mailed Wentworth Event Coordinator, and explained about Kylie.  A week later, I received a response back from Wentworth Event Coordinator that KK was scheduled until 5:30pm, but she texted Wentworth Event Coordinator that she had to leave at 4pm to catch her flight.  Wentworth Event Coordinator told me that Kylie threatened to sue for not paying her full service.  

Here is a video of Kylie signing at the event.

And here is her empty chair at the later part of the event, leaving the remaining deaf individuals completely in the dark as to what was being said.

Here’s the email Wentworth Con sent to the man who bought his ticket after being told an interpreter would be there, stating that Kylie was threatening to sue them, despite not fulfilling the duties she was paid to do there.

It was around this time that Kylie was flying across the country, doing media appearances and television shows, which is why she had to leave the conference early and without warning. This is a photo she posed for aboard the flight she abandoned her duties for, telling people she was a “celebrity mom.”

She never sued Wentworth Con, but she has sued three different ASL organizations, all of which were dismissed or are inactive.

In 2016 word was out in the Deaf community that Kylie was a fraud, but was teaching at the community college in Napa. A woman named Cynthia Dawn Keener created a Change.org petition to spread the word about Kylie.

Kylie Kirkpatrick has been hired to teach American Sign Language at Napa Valley College and we are upset about this. Kylie has been known to be a habitual, unethical community ASL Interpreter. She has been approached by several interpreters and Deaf community members about her unethical habits while interpreting and she has refused to have a respectful dialogue about this. We are upset that the college has hired her, since she has no BA/BS or MA/MS and she is NOT a certified Interpreter. She is a rogue interpreter and has been observed as not adhering to the Code of Ethics. Many Deaf community members have already contacted Napa Valley College and they have ignored or passed their responsibility off to other staff members. It seems as if they don’t care about our concerns and complaints, nor do they respect our community by being unwilling to have a conversation about their hiring of someone who is NOT qualified to teach.  We know that there are power in numbers from the success that happened with Deaf President Now protest and we need your help to get our voices heard. Our goal is to get Napa Valley College to no longer employ Kylie as an ASL Instructor. We can’t stop her from being a rogue interpreter for our community, but we can complain hopefully have our voices heard if we do it together. 

Many prominent members of the Deaf community signed that petition, and Kylie began to threaten them online. She also sued Cynthia Keener for defamation, but never showed up to court and the case was dismissed.

In her affidavit Kylie claimed that Cynthia Keener was going after Kylie out of spite (because Cynthia’s friend allegedly wanted Kylie’s job, which was untrue), said that she was the victim of “horrible prank phone calls,” and blamed members of the Deaf community for saying “horrible things about me and my family.” She even accused Keener of slander, which is difficult to do for a deaf person since slander is spoken defamation.

They did indeed criticize her, as is their constitutionally protected right, but no one had spoken badly of Ryan. This is what Kylie often does when she’s backed into a corner – hides behind Ryan by making up lies that people are threatening him.

Two years later she once again contacted Keener and asked her to take the petition down, which she has bravely refused to do.

There is no one who is off limits from Kylie’s wrath, even the Deaf community. Yet the Napa Valley Register has legitimized her an ASL interpreter, helping her land more gigs that she hasn’t signed effectively at, and the Dead community suffered as a result. She is a vexatious litigant, with dozens of lawsuits filed against anyone who has dared to publicly speak out against her. Feel free to search the California Judicial Portal yourself by clicking here to see for yourself, because this is what part 6 will primarily be about – the nasty, mean, vicious side of Kylie Kirkpatrick that we haven’t shown you yet.

 

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