A Wynwood restaurant’s liquor license is in jeopardy after Gov. Ron DeSantis filed a complaint against the business for allowing children to attend its family-friendly drag brunches. DeSantis, whose complaint dubs the popular drag brunch venue R House a “public nuisance,” characterizes the extreme measure as an effort to “protect children” from events that “try to sexualize” kids, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
The Florida complaint cites video from an R House event posted on July 3 in which a drag performer leads a child around the restaurant patio. The video apparently led to a more formal investigation of drag performances at the business during brunches between July 9 and July 23. The complaint alleges that drag performance at the venue “simulated sexual activity” that “constituted lewd activity and warrants revocation of respondent’s license” according to the Miami Herald.
In a statement to Eater, representatives for R House said: “We are aware of the complaint and are currently working with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, through our attorney, to resolve the situation. We are an inclusive establishment and welcome all people to visit our restaurant. We are hopeful that Governor DeSantis, a vociferous supporter and champion of Florida’s hospitality industry and small businesses, will see this as what it is, a misunderstanding, and that the matter will be resolved positively and promptly.”
The complaint is the latest attack by conservatives against family-friendly drag events. For months now, conservative politicians and pundits across the country have been leveling an assault against queer cultural expression, attempting to equate childrens’ attendance at drag events to child abuse. In June, a Dallas business became the target of anti-LGBTQ sentiments after video of a family-friendly Pride event featuring drag performers surfaced on social media. The video prompted calls by a state legislator to introduce a law banning such events.
And, just last week, a suburban Chicago bakery attracted the anti-LGBTQ harassment after it announced a family-friendly drag event; threats, among other things, falsely claimed the show was a “child-trafficking event.” The bakery was then vandalized over the weekend, forcing the event’s cancelation; the suspect was arrested and charged with a felony hate crime.
In Florida, this is far from the first instance of DeSantis attacking drag events. DeSantis went on the record in June, stating that his administration would be looking into how to limit kid-friendly drag performances.