Ron DeSantis Threatens Miami Hotel’s Liquor License After Drag Show
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis took action on Tuesday, March 14, to revoke the liquor license of the Hyatt Regency Miami hotel in Downtown Miami over accusations that the hotel allowed minors to attend a holiday drag show at the James L. Knight Center, which is affiliated with Hyatt.
DeSantis filed an administrative complaint through the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation against the hotel. In December 2022, the James L. Knight Center hosted “A Drag Queen Christmas,” which, according to the complaint, “simulated masturbation” as well as “graphic depictions of childbirth and/or abortion” with performers “forcibly penetrating or running their exposed prosthetic breasts against the faces or oral cavities of audience members.”
In December, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation warned the Hyatt Regency against hosting a show that included sexual content in front of minors, according to a copy of the letter included in the complaint. The show, which features RuPaul’s Drag Race performers wearing “prosthetic female genitalia” during portions of the show, added a “Recommended for audiences 18+” disclaimer to the marketing materials with an additional disclaimer that “an adult must accompany minors.” The complaint alleges minors under the age of 16 were knowingly admitted into the show, but provided no evidence other than a blurry photograph of a person’s face in the complaint.
According to Amir Blattner, the general manager at Hyatt Regency Miami, the event took place at the James L. Knight Center, which is managed by third-party operators, while the hotel serves as the food and beverage concessionaire. He confirmed to Eater that the hotel’s liquor license remains active and has not been revoked. Blattner added that they are currently reviewing the complaint and will be handling the situation directly with the state’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation as part of the administrative review process.
More venues may lose licenses following complaints filed by the DeSantis administration, including R House, a Miami bar that hosted a drag show with minors present in July 2022, and the Orlando Philharmonic Plaza Foundation in February. This latest incident is part of a larger national trend that has called for drag events to be banned. Conservative groups and politicians have increasingly attacked drag culture, claiming that these events promote “inappropriate” and “immoral” behavior to children. Earlier in March, Tennessee enacted what’s considered the most-restrictive anti-drag law in the country, sparking protests by artists and throwing the future of drag shows at restaurants and bars into question.
DeSantis, a rumored 2024 presidential candidate, has taken an increasingly hardline stance against what he views as “woke” culture in recent months, specifically with regard to LGBTQ rights. His policies have included the controversial “Don’t Say Gay” law, prohibiting transgender women from competing in women’s sports, and threatening to cut funding for diversity and inclusion initiatives at universities.