The Fort Lauderdale show at the Broward Center was the first of four performances around the state.
The 2022 Florida debut of “A Drag Queen Christmas” in Fort Lauderdale has triggered a state investigation, according to a tweet from the account of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Press Secretary.
The show went on in Miami’s James L. Knight Center Tuesday night — with limited tickets still available — and was scheduled to hit the heights in Orlando and Clearwater for successive nights. But it might be coming to the attention of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, according to a statement from the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR).
DBPR “is aware of multiple complaints about a sexually explicit performance marketed to children held in Fort Lauderdale on December 26. The Department is actively investigating this matter, including video footage and photographs from the event,” said the statement that Bryan Griffin tweeted.
“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.”
According to the traveling production’s website, Dragfans.com, the show has been going on for eight years. And, on the site’s “Past Tours” page, the show has made stops in Florida for five different Christmases, according to the posters displayed there.
The production company says that “all ages” are welcome at its shows, as does the website advertising the Orlando show. But the site listing all the tour stops does say potential patrons might be barred depending on local regulations.
Miami’s show, for example, is advertised with the caveat, “Adult content. Recommended for audiences — 18+. Minors must be accompanied by an adult.” In Clearwater, it says that only those older than 18 will be admitted to Ruth Eckerd Hall for the performance.
Critics of the show tweeted videos showing a full house in the Broward Center for the Performing Arts Monday night. And the Dec. 22 event in Knoxville, Tennessee, was sold out, according to Tennessee state Rep. Gloria Johnson’s Twitter account.
The controversy is reminiscent of a July complaint about a drag queen brunch put on at R House Wynwood after a video surfaced showing a toddler dancing with a drag queen. Statements from Gov. Ron DeSantis indicated the venue’s liquor license was at risk for the same issue.
The current status of the investigation was unavailable Tuesday, but the restaurant’s website seems to indicate that the drag brunch is still happening Saturday and Sunday with four seatings.
In July, DeSantis said his criticism of the drag brunch’s entertainment is part of his fight for Florida to be “where kids can be kids.” That includes efforts to pass the Parental Rights in Education law, which more closely regulates schoolhouse discussions.