Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is trying to shut down R House, which hosts wildly popular drag brunches in Miami’s Wynwood district.
R House garnered the governor’s ire and became the target of a Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation over a video of one of the shows. In it, a scantily clad drag queen walks holding the hand of a young brunch attendee. The queen was wearing a G-string and nipple covers and the child with her had a dollar bill in their hand.
“Having kids involved in this is wrong,” DeSantis said. “That is not consistent with our law and policy in the state of Florida. And it is a disturbing trend in our society to try to sexualize these young people. That is not the way you protect children.”
Earlier this week, DeSantis announced the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation investigation, and revealing that state agents had covertly attended several shows. The governor also seemed appalled that R House has a kid’s menu for the drag brunch.
Accordign to the Miami Herald the state’s complaint against R House focuses on “performances and simulated sexual activity” in front of kids.
Huff Post adds that the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation filed an administrative complaint for disorderly conduct against R House, citing a 75-year-old Florida state Supreme Court ruling prohibiting “men impersonating women.”
The governor has said that R House’s liquor license is in question and may be revoked, which could force the venue to shut down.
Chris Caputo, a city commissioner in the Wilton Manors gayborhood, worries the impact of this kind of targeting, telling Miami Herald, “this is something that is really difficult for us to fight back against. I actually think this can have dangerous implications for our drag queens.”
Although avoiding making public comments about the ongoing investigation, the gay owners of R House had previously spoken out against Florida’s “don’t say gay” law, and vowed to continue being loudly queer. “Whatever is going on in Tallahassee, every weekend we will be representing our community in a positive way,” Owen Bale told the Miami Herald in April. “Doing what we do is a political statement in its own right.”