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DeSantis targets restaurant after viral video shows kids at drag show

The state has started an investigation that could result in the business losing its liquor license.

MIAMI — A popular Miami restaurant’s liquor license is on the line following a complaint filed by Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration over kids attending drag shows at the venue.

The restaurant, identified in the complaint as the R House Wynwood, is under investigation by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation following a complaint filed by the state alleging the restaurant is exposing children to “sexually explicit drag shows.”

The restaurant could lose its liquor license if found in violation of local laws and codes, DeSantis said.

Primarily a Latin restaurant, R House owners have been showcasing drag artists since opening in 2014, the Miami Herald reports. In a statement to the newspaper, R House Wynwood ownership said it was working with state regulators to resolve the situation.

The complaint filed on July 26 stems from a viral video originally posted to TikTok showing a toddler dancing with a drag queen. 

Throughout the documents obtained by 10 Tampa Bay, the complaint repeatedly draws comparisons between the drag show and strip club performances, suggesting it constitutes lewd activity warranting revocation of the restaurant's license. 

State investigators apparently attended three "Drag Brunch" shows on July 9, 17 and 23, according to the complaint, and also cite several videos posted to social media recorded at the restaurant during prior performances, with screenshots attached.

In one instance detailed in the complaint during the July 23 visit, a state investigator claims to have witnessed a young child "between the ages of 10 and 12... turning away in her seat as a performer climbed on the back of the child's bench, squatted, and gyrated."

“Having kids involved in this is wrong,” DeSantis said of the video and investigation during a Wednesday press conference on an unrelated topic.

DeSantis – who has promoted Florida as "the freest state" where every parent should have the right to choose what is best for their child – said parents choosing to take their children to a drag show is part of a “disturbing trend in our society” to sexualize kids.

“You protect children, you do not expose them to things that are inappropriate,” DeSantis said.

Others have criticized the governor, arguing his attacks are only geared toward LGBTQ+ content.

“Meanwhile no commentary from the Governor on bringing kids to Hooters,” tweeted Rep. Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando.

This follows a Dallas drag show that drew controversy in June after a similar video surfaced showing children participating in the performance during what the bar promoted as a family-friendly drag event.

In response, DeSantis asked his staff to consider a Florida lawmaker's proposal to make it a felony to take a child to a drag show.

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