DeSantis files complaint against Orlando Philharmonic for hosting drag holiday event

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) administration has filed a complaint against an Orlando foundation over a drag holiday event it hosted in which minors were allowed to attend the show.

The complaint, which was filed Friday, alleges that the Orlando Philharmonic Plaza Foundation violated state law in allowing for a person to “commit lewd or lascivious exhibition” in the presence of an individual who is less than 16 years old.

It states that the foundation hosted a show called “A Drag Queen Christmas” on Dec. 28 and sold alcoholic drinks during it. The complaint, which the Florida-based news outlet The Floridian published a copy of online, said that the foundation used “Christmas-themed promotional materials” that did not give advance notice of the “sexually explicit nature” of the show’s contents.

The materials said all ages were welcome.

The state’s Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco under the Department of Business and Professional Regulation filed the complaint in its capacity as a regulator of alcohol. It is attempting to revoke the foundation’s liquor license for six alleged counts of violating Florida statutes.

The complaint states that the division sent the foundation a letter ahead of the show saying “sexually explicit drag show performances constitute public nuisances, lewd activity, and disorderly conduct when minors are in attendance” and the foundation’s license could be subject to penalties if it did not ensure minors could not attend the event.

The division alleges the foundation responded to the letter by placing a notice at the entrance of the venue that said the show might not be appropriate for people under 18, but it is not restricted. It said children appearing to be younger than 6 attended the show.

The department announced in late December that it was investigating the show after it received “multiple complaints” about a Dec. 26 performance.

DeSantis previously filed a complaint against a Miami restaurant in July, alleging that it violated a public decency law in allowing children to attend a drag show. He has been among the most prominent voices criticizing children being able to attend the shows, accusing them of trying to “sexualize” youth.

The Hill has reached out to the foundation for comment.

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