Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s roaring war on drag is ending with one whimper after another. His latest defeat is his campaign against the Hyatt Regency Miami.
The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) launched an investigation into the hotel because a drag show was hosted at the James L. Knight Center, which is on the same property. Because people under 18 were admitted, DBPR launched an investigation saying the children would be harmed. The hotel caters to the Knight Center, and the state was targeting its liquor license. That type of loss can put an establishment out of business.
However, the bark was much worse than the bite. The hotel will pay a $5,000 fine and promise not to let children into shows that may have “lewdness,” which remains a murky term.
The Christmas-themed show, "A Drag Queen Christmas," was held last December in Miami. Video taken by a “concerned attendee” was brought to the attention of the governor’s office.
The settlement lets the state declare victory, but the fine will barely cover the cost of the investigation. A similar deal was struck with R House in Wynwood, where a video showed a child dancing with a drag queen on the sidewalk. After similar saber-rattling, the state settled for a fine and a promise.
After launching investigations into several venues in Florida, the governor and his Republican supermajority in Tallahassee passed an anti-drag bill. It cowed prides into canceling parades and fencing in events.
Hamburger Mary’s in Orlando sued to overturn the law, and a federal judge put the law on hold. In another defeat for DeSantis, even the extreme, right-wing, U.S. Supreme Court agreed to keep the law on hold while it works through the courts.