FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA — The governor’s office responded to complaints of a “sexually explicit performance marketed to children” on Tuesday, stating that the matter is being investigated by authorities.
Conservative activist Chris Nelson recorded segments of “A Drag Queen Christmas” at Broward Center on Monday evening and posted a video on Twitter in which he is escorted out of the venue by police after protesting the inclusion of children at the hypersexualized theatrical performance from cross-dressing men.
LOOKING AT EVIDENCE
Bryan Griffin, press secretary for Governor Ron DeSantis, stated in an email that the matter is under investigation by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). According to Griffin, multiple complaints have been filed regarding the Fort Lauderdale event and the DBPR is currently looking at evidence in the form of videos and photos.
“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,” Griffin explained, and added that the DBPR will share any collected evidence with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) for potential criminal liability.
“The Department frequently conducts investigations into these matters upon tips provided by the public, and we thank the public for continuing to bring attention to these incidents. Investigations of such allegations will remain a priority for the Department and, indeed, are ongoing,” the statement read.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Nelson’s tweet had received more than one million views. Many on Twitter responded with outrage, while some argued parents have the right to bring their children to the event if they want. One user asked “Where is the @browardsheriff?”
Conservative pundit Jeremey Frankel tweeted: “I thought this was illegal in Florida.”
Roger Stone, a former advisor and longtime loyalist of former President Trump, tweeted: “Desantis told us this would NOT happen in Florida. Consenting adults can attend any show they wish but not children.”
Independent journalist Tayler Hansen, who first documented “A Drag Queen Christmas,” tweeted: “This ‘All Ages’ Christmas Drag Show is taking place in your state right now @GovRonDeSantis Children are in attendance.”
On December 15, Hansen’s social media posts exposing the show’s engagement with young children in the audience went viral. In the videos Hansen posted of a performance in Texas, many of the men on stage interacted with young children. One of the men asked a child in the audience: “Are you reaching for my titties, are you hungry?”
Another man accepted a cash tip from one of the children near the front row, responding: “Ten dollars already. I think I have a fan. Obsessed much? It’s a child!”
One of the performers spoke to two different children, ages 9 and 10, asking them: “Are you having fun, are you enjoying it, are you confused yet?”
Emcee Andrew Robert Levitt, who uses the stage name Nina West, shared a personal anecdote at the show Hansen attended, telling the audience: “I had sex with my father’s boss in my father’s office.” Levitt then solicited similar stories of sexual experiences from members of the audience.
Levitt has worked with Disney+ and Nickelodeon to broadcast performances that celebrate homosexuality and gender fluidity.
VENUES ALLOWING ENTRY TO KIDS
When The Florida Standard asked Broward Center last week to explain why they thought the show was appropriate for youth, the venue sent the following response: “Admission to Drag Queen Christmas is limited to patrons 18 years or older, unless accompanied by a parent. To ensure patrons are aware of the adult themes and content in the show, this information is on the website and ticket purchase page; ticket buyers are also being informed through a ‘Know Before You Go’ email, a customer communication that is sent out in advance of most shows.”
The next stop for “A Drag Queen Christmas” is Tuesday evening at the James L. Knight Center in Miami. On Wednesday night, the show visits Plaza Live Orlando.
The Florida Standard contacted each of these venues, asking why they were permitting entry for underaged youth. Neither responded.