Feb 5, 2023 - Politics & Policy

DeSantis files complaint against Orlando foundation over holiday drag event

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a press conference to announce the award of $100 million for beach recovery following Hurricanes Ian and Nicole in Daytona Beach Shores in Florida

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' (R) administration is seeking to revoke the Orlando Philharmonic Plaza Foundation's liquor license after hosting a holiday-themed drag event, which children were allowed to attend.

The big picture: Children attending drag performances has been under debate since 2018, when libraries saw controversy as they tried to host Drag Queen Story Hours, Axios' Selene San Felice reports.

Driving the news: The state’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation filed the complaint on Friday, alleging the foundation broke Florida statutes "for a person to commit lewd or lascivious exhibition 'in the presence of a victim who is less than 16 years of age.'"

  • The event, called "A Drag Queen Christmas," was held on Dec. 28, 2022, per the complaint, which was obtained by the Florida-based news outlet The Floridian.
  • "Rather than call attention to the show's sexually explicit content or acknowledge that it might not be appropriate for children, respondent's promotional materials unequivocally stated 'all ages welcome,'" the complaint said.
  • Axios was unable to reach a representative for the Orlando Philharmonic Plaza Foundation for comment.

Zoom out: Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation in December said it was investigating the holiday drag show after receiving "multiple complaints" related to the event.

Go deeper... Drag queen story hours increasingly on alert after threats, slurs

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