The state of Florida moved to strip the Hyatt Regency Miami hotel of its liquor license on Tuesday in retaliation for hosting a Christmas-themed drag show, alleging that minors had been in attendance, which is against state law.
The move comes amid Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ war against what he calls “woke” culture ahead of his expected White House run in the Republican primary next year. Drag events, U.S. history class and LGBTQ-friendly library books number among his targets.
In a letter to the hotel’s ownership dated the same day as the event, the state’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation warned against knowingly admitting minors. Department chief Melanie Griffin wrote that “sexually explicit drag show performances constitute public nuisances, lewd activity, and disorderly conduct when minors are in attendance.”
The venue had admitted minors if they were accompanied by an adult.
The state agency said in legal documents it found evidence that audience members included “children appearing less than 16 years of age,” the age at which a Florida statue forbids exposure to lewd or lascivious exhibition. At certain points in the show, performers simulated masturbation and wore “sexually suggesting clothing.”
A department spokesperson told Insider that the Hyatt has 21 days to request a hearing and can keep selling alcohol until a final decision is made.
Another Florida venue, the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale, similarly found itself in the agency’s crosshairs for hosting a Christmastime drag show last year.