The "Free State of Florida" Is Coming for You
In Florida you are totally free to do whatever Ron DeSantis allows you to do.
1. The Free State of Florida
It’s a small thing.
Yesterday Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation filed a complaint against the Hyatt Regency Miami. The complaint puts the Hyatt on notice that their state liquor license will be revoked in 21 days, unless they request a full hearing. If they do request a full hearing, then the agency will meet to adjudicate the complaint and decide whether or not to revoke the license.
The cause for this complaint: The Hyatt hosted a drag show on December 27, 2022.
Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation is an executive office which answers to Governor Ron DeSantis. It is impossible to read this complaint as anything other than a policy initiative by DeSantis as he makes his case for why he should be president of the United States. His spokesman practically said so out loud.
So just how free is the “Free State of Florida”? The particulars of this incident are instructive.
The Hyatt Regency Miami did not produce the show “A Drag Queen Christmas.” The show is a touring event. The Hyatt Regency Miami was simply the venue which accommodated the event by contracting to host it and provide food and beverage service.
The production company which runs “A Drag Queen Christas” originally used the phrase “All Ages Welcome” on its ticketing website. (As the venue, the Hyatt did not handle ticketing.)
Someone was keeping tabs on this event and submitted a complaint to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which in turn sent the Hyatt a letter warning them that the event they had contracted to host could result in them being pursued by the state government.1 Here’s the letter:
In response to this letter, the Hyatt contacted the show’s producers and requested that they change the wording of their ticketing page to bring them into compliance. Here is the revised language used by the show’s promoters:
The government’s complaint acknowledges this change but then alleges:
Although Respondent updated its advertising to include a disclaimer that the Show was “recommended for audiences 18+,” Respondent’s admission policies specifically allowed for minor children to attend if “accompanied by an adult.”
As a result, minors attended and were knowingly admitted into the Show by Respondent, including children appearing less than 16 years of age. See Exhibit 5.
The state’s Exhibit 5 is a picture taken by someone at the event of an individual who it alleges “appears” to be under the age of 16. However, in this picture the individual’s face is obscured and there is no way for those of us looking at the redacted version to guess his/her age.2
From there, the complaint goes on to present a detailed account of what it alleges was lewd and lascivious content. Here’s a sample:
The Show also contained sexually explicit themes and prurient content presented through perverted versions of popular children’s Christmas songs.
I could go on, but at some point it becomes hard to read with a straight face. Or without imagining Dana Carvey’s Church Lady.
No, seriously. Here’s the Church Lady:
But first, my favorite event of the week, the Met Gala Ball, a classy evening where strumpets and streetwalkers and sluts get to parade around in the latest genital fashions.
First we have Madonna. Let’s see what this 57-year-old mother chose to wear? Look, her fanny’s just hanging out with sturdy straps to push those six-decade bums straight to heaven. Go get Jesus!
And then we have Beyoncé. She must have been thinking, “What should I wear to the ball tonight? I know! A giant latex condom!” All wrapped up and ready to fornicate.