DeSantis files lawsuit against venue for allowing minors to drag show

The DeSantis administration filed a lawsuit against the Orlando Philharmonic for hosting “A Drag Queen Christmas” at Plaza Live — a sexually explicit performance — that allowed children to attend.

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

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

The initial statement, from DeSantis’ publicist, 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 too sent a warning to the Orlando Philharmonic Plaza Foundation Inc. prior to the scheduled performance of “A Drag Queen Christmas”, instructing instead to ban the event to minors due to its explicit nature. The ministry noted in its disclaimer that the show would have featured “the exposure or display of sexual organs, simulated sexual activity, and/or the sexualization of children’s stories.”

“Sexually explicit drag show performances constitute public nuisance, lewd activity and disorderly conduct when minors are present,” 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 duty to ensure that minors are prohibited from attending the Drag Fans drag show.”

“If minors are permitted to attend this drag show, the Department will take all available steps to ensure that you do not pose a threat to minors in the future,” the letter adds:

It appears the venue ignored the warning, prompting the department to take action, seeking to instead revoke its liquor license.

In the complaint, the department noted that the venue took little or no action, simply placing a notice at the entrance that read, “While we do not restrict access to anyone under the age of 18 years old, please note that some may think the content is not appropriate for those under 18.”

“This notice was barely visible as it was printed in small print on a piece of paper taped to a door,” he said, adding that as a result, “minors attended and were knowingly welcomed into the performance by the respondent, including children appearing to be under the age of 6.” The complaint includes censored footage of minors at the event.

“During the show and in the presence of people under the age of 16, performers appeared on stage wearing sexually suggestive clothing and female genital prostheses,” he continued, adding that the show featured “many segments where the performers engaged in lewd, vulgar, and indecent acts of sexual conduct, simulated sexual activity, and displays, including, but not limited to, “exposure to prosthetic female genitalia, simulated masturbation, and” depictions childbirth and/or abortion charts”.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said in December, the administration was “very carefully” reviewing complaints about drag shows.

“So this will all obviously come down to looking at the particular facts and circumstances in these cases,” 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 hurt. We’re going to look at it very carefully and make sure we’re doing our job. This is why people elected us,” she added:


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