ORLANDO, FLORIDA — Plaza Live permitted children into a sexually explicit performance by cross-dressing men on Wednesday evening, despite a letter from the state that promised disciplinary action if the venue did so. Florida’s Voice and The Post Millennial reported that children did attend the show in Orlando, one of the four tour stops in Florida for the national tour of “Drag Queen Christmas.”
Independent journalist Tayler Hansen exposed the show’s lewd entertainment on December 15 after attending a tour stop in Texas. Hansen’s footage, which showed the men on stage interacting with children as young as 9 years old, went viral. As of Thursday afternoon, it had garnered more than 2.8 million views on Twitter.
“AKIN TO RELIGIOUS RITUALS”
The Post Millennial’s Beth Baisch documented the Orlando event, capturing video of what appeared to be a man in costume simulating a self-administered abortion. The masked performer then smeared the red, discharged remains on shirtless male dancers.
“These concerts are akin to religious rituals. Cult of the woke,” journalist Ian Miles Cheong tweeted in response to the video. “Consider how so many corporations have drag queen processions. They’re religious rituals. Drag queens are their priests.”
Plaza Live did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Florida Standard also contacted Plaza Live last week, asking why they thought the show was appropriate for children, but did not receive a response.
STATE ISSUED WARNING
Hours before the show began, The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) sent a letter to Plaza Live proprietors that promised to take disciplinary action if the venue violated Florida state law by exposing children to sexually explicit activity.
The letter warned that the DBPR may revoke the venue’s business license, stating: “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.”
The letter, which was widely publicized by numerous media outlets and shared extensively on social media, apparently did not deter the venue from admitting children.
The DBPR sent similar letters carrying the same caution to the other venues hosting the event, including the James L. Knight Center in Miami and Ruth Eckhard Hall in Clearwater.
Rep. Anna Eskamani, a Democrat, criticized the state’s promise to enforce laws that prohibit adults from exposing minors to sexually explicit activities.
“This is a politically motivated letter sent by the DeSantis administration to basically intimidate and try to cancel drag shows,” Eskamani said according to Fox 35 in Orlando. “This is not the first time, and it won’t be the last time.”
On Thursday morning, the governor’s office hinted that the letter was more than hot air.
“As stated in the cease-and-desist letter sent from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, ‘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,’” Bryan Griffin, the governor’s press secretary said in a statement. “The Department will complete its investigation and act accordingly. Stay tuned.”
Meanwhile, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody told Fox & Friends First that parents are not exempt from state punishment.
“When folks are complaining, when there’s an allegation that children are being exposed to inappropriate material – whether that’s with a parent or not – I can tell you as a judge and a former prosecutor… I saw all the time parents that against laws exposed children to explicit, sexually suggestive material,” Moody said. “That doesn’t exempt anyone – a parent or a business – from liability for such behavior.”
After praising DeSantis for his “energetic” leadership, Moody added: “This governor and our executive branch will not sit back while children, or anyone else, is harmed.”