Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is citing a 75-year-old court ruling to go after a Miami drag show in an attempt to shut it down.
The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation filed an administrative complaint for disorderly conduct against R House restaurant, citing the state Supreme Court ruling against “men impersonating women.”
DeSantis said at a news conference Wednesday that a video taken in the restaurant shows a child walking with a drag performer dressed in “lingerie.”
He said investigators found minors present and a “children’s menu” for the popular outdoor bunches at R House, DeSantis added, “You think to yourself: Give me a break. What’s going on?”
According to the complaint, a copy of which was obtained by NBC News: “The video shows what appears to be a transgender dancer leading a young girl by the hand and walking through Respondent’s dining area. The dancer’s buttocks were fully exposed, and his ‘g-string’-style bikini bottom was stuffed with dollar bills.” The dancer’s breasts were also “fully exposed,” noted the complaint.
The complaint alleges that R House violated state public nuisance law by becoming “manifestly injurious to the morals or manners of the people.”
The department cited the 1947 Florida Supreme Court decision that found that “men impersonating women” in a “suggestive” performance constitutes a public nuisance.
LGBTQ activists view the action as the opening of a campaign to shut down all drag shows — and go after trans people.
The restaurant told NBC in a statement that it is working with the department through its attorney to “rectify the situation.”
“We are an inclusive establishment and welcome all people to visit our restaurant,” it said. “We are hopeful that Gov. 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.”
If the complaint is successful, the state could revoke the restaurant’s liquor license, which could significantly hurt business.
DeSantis is focused on targeting the LGBTQ community in drag shows — and in public schools with his recent “Don’t Say Gay” law.
Tampa hosted the right-wing Turning Point USA’s Student Action Summit last week, where Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) touted Christian nationalism inside and neo-Nazis waved swastika flags outside. DeSantis condemned neither.