February 3, 2023
Amber Jo Cooper and Eric Daugherty contributed to this report.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (FLV) – Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office said the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation is “revoking” the Orlando Philharmonic Plaza Foundation’s liquor license after a “sexual” drag show permitted entry to minors.
The department said the venue exposed and promoted lewd, obscene, and sexual acts to minors.
“Governor DeSantis stands to protect the innocence of children, and the governor always follows through when he says he will do something,” Press Secretary Bryan Griffin said in a statement.
The complaint said that during the show, “children appearing to be less than 16 years of age” were exposed to performers wearing “sexually suggestive clothing and prosthetic female genitalia.” Read the full complaint here.
They also alleged that “children appearing to be less than 6 years of age” were permitted entry, exposing them to sexual performances.
“A Drag Queen Christmas” toured several Florida cities including Orlando, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Clearwater. Some of the shows were marketed to children prior to the performances. The Orlando show took place Dec. 28.
The department listed the instances where children were exposed to “simulated sexual activity” and “indecent displays,” including:
- “Intentionally” exposing prosthetic female breasts and genitalia to the audience.
- “Intentionally” exposing performers’ buttocks to the audience.
- “Stimulating masturbation through performers’ digitally penetrating prosthetic female genitals.”
- “Graphic depictions of childbirth and/or abortion.”
Another aspect of the complaint pointed to the “Screwdolph the Red-Nippled Reindeer” song. They cited some of the lyrics, including:
- “You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen Vomit and Stupid and Dildo and Dicks-in…”
- “Screwdolph the Red-Nippled Reindeer, had a very shiny bust…”
- “Then one soggy Christmas Eve Santa came to say ‘Screwdolph with your nipples so bright won’t you guide my sleigh tonight.’”
The complaint said videos were projected on screens behind the performers including images of “exposed female breasts with less than a fully opaque covering, portrayals of simulated masturbation, and other sexually explicit content.”
They said the show contained sexually explicit themes and prurient content presented through sexualized adaptations of popular children’s Christmas songs.
Multiple children were spotted by Florida’s Voice at the Orlando event.
Florida’s Voice reporter Amber Jo Cooper was removed from the venue without reason.
At the Orlando event, Florida’s Voice witnessed explicit performances, despite warnings sent from the administration ahead of the show.
The show displayed drag queens and others dancing sensually, including “Screwdolph the red-nippled reindeer.”
During one performance, one of the drag queens said “just throw your wiener on me,” making a sexual joke to the other drag queen. Many performers were wearing little clothing with prosthetic body parts, and thongs.
The Miami and Fort Lauderdale shows allowed entry to minors if parents were present while the Orlando show promoted itself as “all ages welcome.” Following the Fort Lauderdale event, department said it was investigating the drag show after complaints of the sexually explicit performance being marketed to children.
Ahead of the last few stops of the tour, the department sent letters to the venues in Orlando and Clearwater warning them that “exposing children to sexually explicit activity is a crime in Florida.” The state launched an investigation into the venues allowing minors to attend.
The department issued the following letter to the the Orlando Philharmonic Plaza Foundation ahead of the event. In part, it said:
The Department has reason to believe that this drag show is of a sexual nature, involving the exposure or exhibition of sexual organs, simulated sexual activity, and/or the sexualization of children’s stories. The Department has also become aware that drag shows by Drag Fans have been marketed to and attended by minors, including young children.
Sexually explicit drag show performances constitute public nuisances, lewd activity, and disorderly conduct when minors are in attendance.
In short, if you allow children to attend the Drag Fans drag show at your facility, you are putting your license in jeopardy.
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.
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.
DeSantis’ administration issued another warning for the Dec. 29, 2022 show in Clearwater and the department told Ruth Eckerd Hall of Clearwater that children cannot be exposed to “sexually explicit performances.”
The DeSantis administration cited Florida’s licensure laws that provide strict penalties for licensees who allow minors to attend these drag shows at their licensed premises (sections 561.29(1)(a) and 561.29(1)(c), Florida Statutes).
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody previously spoke out about the event.
Moody said on Fox Friends First “energy in the executive in Florida is on full display” and credited DeSantis. She explained that no parent or business is exempt from “liability” for exposing children to “sexually suggestive material.”
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