Drag show promoters say they’re being targeted by Florida bill threatening liquor licenses

ORLANDO, Fla. — Drag show promoters say they’re being targeted by a Florida bill that threatens to strip businesses of their liquor licenses.

The bill, which had its first Senate committee hearing today, states businesses could have their liquor licenses revoked if they admit children into what the state defines as an “adult live performance.”


That’s defined as “any show, exhibition, or other presentation in front of a live audience which, in whole or in part, depicts or simulates nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, specific sexual activities.”

Three months ago, the Orlando Philharmonic received a letter from the state threatening to take their liquor license after dozens of protesters and counter-protesters lined up outside the Plaza Live for a Christmas drag show show.

Read: Drag show moved from Orlando venue amid ‘uncertainties regarding age-appropriate content’

Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan said she didn’t see anything wrong or inappropriate with the show.

“There was some stuff that was risque but not anything that you wouldn’t see in a PG-13 movie, but by the way PG-13 movies you can watch with your parents,” she said.

Read: Community meeting addresses new bills over fear they target drag performers

Sen. Clay Yarborough defended the bill on Tuesday, saying in part: “We must take a strong stand for child safety and against a troubling social agenda that seeks to indoctrinate young children and replace the role of parents.”

Tuesday’s hearing was the first of two senate committees scheduled for the bill.

Rep. Randy Fine is also sponsoring a House version of the bill.

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.