TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Florida restaurant could lose its liquor license for hosting what the state refers to as “sexually explicit” drag shows with children in attendance, multiple news outlets reported.
According to conservative news website Breitbart, which was first to report the news, the governor’s administration filed a complaint with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, accusing the R House restaurant of public nuisance violations.
The R House restaurant is located in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood and hosts drag brunches on the weekend.
The complaint alleges the restaurant exposed minors to “sexually explicit drag shows,” citing a video that surfaced earlier this month. The video shows a young girl walking with a drag performer. The performer was wearing only pasties and a thong filled with dollar bills.
“We said wait a minute, having kids involved in this is wrong,” DeSantis said Wednesday during a press conference in Tampa. “That is not consistent with our law and policy in the state of Florida and it is a disturbing trend in our society to try to sexualize these young people. That is not the way you look out for our children, you protect children, you do not expose them to things that are inappropriate.”
DeSantis said agents with the division went to the drag brunch and combed social media for more videos.
“They actually had agents going to this place and effectively just gathering information, getting intelligence, seeing what’s going on,” DeSantis said. “And what they found was, not only were there minors there — and these are sexually explicit drag shows — the bar had a children’s menu. And you think to yourself: ‘Give me a break, what’s going on?”
The complaint says R House violated provisions in state law targeting public nuisances, lewd activity, disorderly conduct and indecent exposure.
“Performances and simulated sexual activity — particularly when conducted in the presence of young children — constituted lewd activity and warrants revocation of respondent’s license,” the complaint said, according to reports.
“We are aware of the complaint and are currently working with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, through our attorney, to rectify the situation,” the owners of R House said in a statement issued by a public relations firm, according to reports. “We are hopeful that Governor DeSantis, a vociferous supporter and champion of Florida’s hospitality industry and small businesses, will see this as what it is, a misunderstanding, and that the matter will be resolved positively and promptly.”
It’s not the first time DeSantis and other Florida conservatives have taken aim at drag shows. The governor previously said he was considering using child protective services to investigate parents who bring their children to drag shows. Republican State Rep. Anthony Sabatini said he would propose legislation to charge them with a felony.
“I will be proposing Legislation to charge w/ a Felony & terminate the parental rights of any adult who brings a child to these perverted sex shows aimed at FL kids,” Sabatini tweeted.
“Drag shows under attack again, meanwhile no commentary from the Governor on bringing kids to Hooters,” State Rep. Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando, tweeted in response to the governor’s complaint. “According to this logic, it’s only sexually explicit if it’s LGBTQ+. Why can’t FL focus on solving real problems vs. creating new ones?”