In yet another authoritarian move, the administration of Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis filed a complaint against a Wynwood bar for exposing minors to what they claim are “sexually explicit drag shows.”
Filed Tuesday against Miami’s R House, the complaint – which accuses the bar and restaurant of disorderly conduct – said:
“The nature of the performances described above, particularly when conducted in the presence of young children, corrupts the public morals and outrages the sense of public decency.”
R House has three weeks to respond to the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco’s complaint against the small business, with its liquor license on the line if it’s found to have violated local laws. It’s something that DeSantis said would “basically” put the LGBTQ-friendly bar out of business.
The owners of R House said in a statement:
“We are aware of the complaint and are currently working with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation through our attorney to rectify the situation 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.”
The popular Miami hotspot was founded in 2014 by chef Rocco Carulli, and his husband Owen Bale. Originally opened as a restaurant and art gallery hybrid, the couple began hosting drag shows shortly after meeting one of the city’s most well-known drag queens – Athena Dion.
The brunches became so popular that reservations are made weeks in advance.
After a July 3 video showing a dancer wearing a g-string and pasties while leading a young girl around the restaurant went viral – investigators began going through social media posts for videos of past drag brunches. The agency went so far as to send agents to the R House on July 9, July 17, and July 23.
According to The Miami Herald, the complaint compares the Latin-inspired restaurant to a strip club, arguing that the performers “simulate sexual activity.”
The state also argues the business is a nuisance, citing a ruling by the Florida Supreme Court that deems “men impersonating women” in the context of “suggestive and indecent” performances constitutes a public nuisance.
“Having kids involved in this is wrong and it 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,” DeSantis told reporters at a Tampa news conference. The governor added, “That is not the way you look out for our children. You protect children. You don’t expose them.”
But Ron DeSantis will expose kids to a deadly virus with anti-mask mandates. He will expose Florida’s children to a pre-existing condition by blocking access to the Covid vaccine for children under five. And the governor will expose innocent children to the anti-LGBTQ and Nazi hate he’s allowed to fester and grow in his state.
Original reporting by David J. Neal and Ana Ceballos at The Miami Herald.
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