Governor Ron DeSantis (R-Florida) has filed a formal complaint against R House, the Miami bar and restaurant which features a popular drag show brunch on weekends. The complaint alleges that drag queens at R House have interacted with children during their “sexually explicit” performances.
“[N]ot only were there minors there — and these are sexually explicit drag shows — the bar had a children’s menu. And you think to yourself: ‘Give me a break, what’s going on?’” DeSantis told reporters on Wednesday.
The R House drag shows first became a national story when the Twitter account Libs of TikTok shared a video of a drag queen, wearing pasties to cover the nipples of womanly-shaped breasts and a G-string filled with dollar bills, holding the hand of a young girl and parading around the restaurant.
The complaint lists other examples in which minors have been compelled to participate or engage with drag queens during the R House drag show brunches. It claims that another child “between the ages of ten and twelve” was also recently “seen recoiling and turning away in her seat as a Brunch performer climbed on the back of the child’s bench, squatted, and gyrated a couple of feet above the child’s head.”
Citing a 1947 Supreme Court decision, which determined that “suggestive and indecent” performances by “men impersonating women” is a public nuisance, the complaint states that such performances are “manifestly injurious to the morals or manners of the people.”
The first lady of Florida, Casey DeSantis, agreed: “Speaking on behalf of A LOT of moms across the state, we do not want our children exposed to inappropriate sexualized content. Full stop.”
The owners of R House, listed on the restaurant website as Rocco Carulli and his husband Owen Bale, have 21 days to respond to the complaint. R House stands to lose its liquor license, depending on the outcome of the legal process.
“[P]erfomances and simulated sexual activity — particularly when conducted in the presence of young children — constituted lewd activity and warrants revocation of respondent’s license,” the complaint states.
R House has released a public response to the complaint: “We are an inclusive establishment and welcome all people to visit our restaurant. We are hopeful that Governor DeSantis, a vociferous supporter and champion of Florida’s hospitality industry and small businesses, will see this as what it is, a misunderstanding, and that the matter will be resolved positively and promptly.”