DeSantis Files Complaint Against Venue for Allowing Minors to Drag Show

The DeSantis administration has filed a complaint against the Orlando Philharmonic over its hosting of “A Drag Queen Christmas” at Plaza Live — a sexually explicit performance —  which allowed children to attend.

In December, Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) initially announced it was investigating a sexually explicit drag show that occurred in Fort Lauderdale on December 26, 2022, welcoming children in the audience. The show was part of a national tour which featured simulated sex acts, fake breasts, and explicit bits including “Screwdolph the Red Nippled Reindeer”:

Initially, DBPR said it was made aware of “multiple complaints about a sexually explicit performance marketed to children held in Fort Lauderdale on December 26th” and was “actively investigating.” 

The initial statement, from DeSantis press secretary, reminded that “exposing children to sexually explicit activity is a crime in Florida, and such action violates the Department’s licensing standards for operating a business and holding a liquor license.”

DBPR also sent a warning to the Orlando Philharmonic Plaza Foundation Inc. ahead of the scheduled performance of “A Drag Queen Christmas,” instructing the venue to prohibit minors from the event due to its explicit nature. The department noted in its warning that the show reportedly featured “exposure or exhibition of sexual organs, simulated sexual activity, and/or the sexualization of children’s stories.” 

“Sexually explicit drag show performances constitute public nuisances, lewd activity, and disorderly conduct when minors are in attendance,” the letter continued, warning of “strict penalties for licensees who allow minors to attend these drag shows at their licensed premises.”

The department warned the venue that it was “your obligation to ensure that minors are prohibited from attending the Drag Fans drag show.”

“If minors are allowed to attend this drag show, the Department will take any and actions available to ensure that you do not pose a threat to minors in the future,” the letter added:

It seems as though the venue did not heed the warning, prompting the department to take action, seeking to strip the venue of its liquor license.

In the complaint, the department noted that the venue took little to no action, simply placing a notice at the entrance which read, “While we are not restricting access to anyone under 18, please be advised some may think the content is not appropriate for under 18.”

“This notice was barely visible as it was printed in small font on a piece of paper taped to a door,” it said, adding that as a result, “minors attended and were knowingly welcomed into the Show by Respondent, including children appearing to be less than 6 years of age.” The complaint includes censored images of minors at the event.

“During the Show and in the presence of persons less than 16 years of the, performers appeared on stage wearing sexually suggestive clothing and prosthetic female genitalia,” it continued, adding the show featured “numerous segments where performers engaged in acts of sexual conduct, simulated sexual activity, and lewd, vulgar, and indecent displays, including but not limited to” exposure to prosthetic female genitalia, simulated masturbation, and “graphic depictions of childbirth and/or abortion.”

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said in December the administration was looking at the drag show complaints “very carefully.”

“So all of this obviously will come down to looking at the particular facts and circumstances in these instances,” Moody said at the time.

“But let me tell you. This governor and our executive branch will not sit while children or anyone else is harmed. We’re going to look at it very carefully and make sure we’re doing our jobs. That’s what people elected us to do,” she added:


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