OAN Shannon Kelland
UPDATED 4:24 PM PT – Thursday, December 29, 2022
Governor Ron DeSantis’ administration announced an investigation into an all-ages Christmas drag show in Florida.
On Wednesday, Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) reported that the department had received “multiple complaints” alleging that the December 26th performance of Drag Fans’ “A Drag Queen Christmas” was “sexually explicit” and “marketed to children.”
The Drag Queen Christmas tour from Drag Fans has already performed in multiple Florida locations, including Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and Orlando. The next stop on the tour is in Clearwater on Thursday. The state relayed a warning over the show’s content to the venue.
On Thursday, State Attorney General Ashley Moody spoke on the matter during her appearance on “Fox & Friends First,” explaining that the DeSantis administration is not taking the incident lightly.
“This governor and our executive branch will not sit back while children or anyone else is harmed. We’re going to look at [this case] very carefully and make sure we’re doing our jobs. That’s what people elected us to do,” Moody said.
The investigation followed a series of similar situations at drag-focused events. In July, the governor announced an investigation on a drag show at a Miami bar where children in allegedly attendance.
“A Drag Queen Christmas,” featured former stars from the reality competition “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” The holiday-themed performance toured all over the U.S.
According to the spokesperson for the Broward Center, the admission to “A Drag Queen Christmas” on December 26th was limited to patrons 18 years or older, unless accompanied by a parent.
The venue claimed that they released a content warning via email prior to the event. Ticketmaster also had a content warning when buying the tickets.
In the letter from DBPR’s Secretary of Business and Professional Regulation Melanie S. Griffin, announcing the potential investigation, they claimed to be aware of the age requirement announced for the Clearwater show. In addition, they advised that the age limit is “strictly enforce[d],” and if children were allowed to attend the event, Ruth Eckerd Hall’s business license to sell alcohol may be “in jeopardy.”
“To avoid action being taken against your license, it is your obligation to ensure that minors are prohibited from attending the Drag Fans drag show,” Griffin said. “If minors are allowed to attend this drag show, the Department will take any and all actions available to ensure that you do not pose a threat to minors in the future.”
The Fort Lauderdale venue at Broward Center for the Performing Arts hosted the performance and may be at risk of losing its liquor license. The venue is also at risk of losing the ability to operate as a business in the state of Florida.
DeSantis has mentioned possibly investigating the parents involved in the situations via child protective services.
DeSantis has been an active conservative advocate on many different issues throughout his administration. He took executive action to ban vaccine mandates in the state, legislation to ban critical race theory teachings in public schools, and teaching gender ideology in classrooms of younger students.
In July, DeSantis filed a complaint against the Miami restaurant, R House, due to children being in attendance of a drag brunch event. He cited a 1947 State Supreme Court ruling that “men impersonating women” in a “suggestive and indecent” fashion constitutes a public problem.
DBPR’s investigation is the latest in a series of steps taken by Republican leaders, including DeSantis, to squash drag performances accused of being sexually explicit and inappropriate for younger audiences.
Due to these actions, over 100 drag performances have been targeted by direct threats this year.
Efforts to tackle drag performance attendees have also moved forward in Texas and Tennessee. Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson (R-Tenn.) introduced a bill late last month that included events with “male or female impersonators” and “adult cabaret performances” on a list of adult-oriented businesses prohibited from operating within 1,000 feet of schools, public parks or places of worship.
“This is a great example of Governor DeSantis and his perspective on leadership. Look at the two differences between President Biden and Governor DeSantis. The energy in the executive in Florida is on full display,” said Moody.
The Florida Governor won re-election by a landslide this past November and is considered a prospective 2024 presidential candidate.