Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis followed through on a promise and will strip the Hyatt Regency Miami of its liquor license for hosting a sexually explicit drag show with children in attendance.
Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation is “revoking the venue’s license for the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages.”
“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,” the department said.
Bryan Griffin, the press secretary of Gov. DeSantis, said: “Sexually explicit content is not appropriate to display to children and doing so violates Florida law.
“Governor DeSantis stands up for the innocence of children in the classroom and throughout Florida.”
The complaint that started the revocation process said performers engaged in “acts of simulated sexual activity, and lewd, vulgar, and indecent displays.”
The complaint lists the offenses as:
- Performers forcibly penetrating or rubbing exposed prosthetic female breasts against faces of audience members
- Intentionally exposing performers’ prosthetic female breasts and genitalia to the audience
- Intentionally exposing performers’ buttocks to the audience
- Simulating masturbation through performers’ digitally penetrating prosthetic female genital
- Graphic depictions of childbirth and/or abortion
According to The National Review:
The organization Equality Florida, a local group that advocates for LGBTQ rights, denounced the move as “selectively weaponizing” arms of the state government against drag performers.
“How far will he take this anti-LGBTQ crusade in his desperate attempt to outrace his inevitable presidential primary opponents?
Will he raid movie theaters because parents take their teenagers to see R-rated movies?
Will he punish electronics stores because parents buy their children certain video games?” a spokesperson for the group told Business Insider.
Similar concerns were echoed by Kate Ruane, a director at PEN America, a free speech organization who denounced the announcement as “deeply concerning.”
“A fundamental tenet of the First Amendment is that the government should not punish people simply because it disapproves of the content of their speech,” Ruane told Business Insider.