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  • Writer's pictureGotta Go Orlando

Orlando's Plaza Live faces losing liquor license after Christmas Drag Show Controversy

Following a Christmas Drag Show, “A Drag Queen Christmas” on December 28, by the drag group Drag Fans, at Orlando's Plaza Live which drew protests outside the venue due to the fact that the event’s ticketing page stated “all ages welcome.”


Now the popular Orlando venue which is home to the Orlando Philharmonic, faces losing its liquor license.


Orlando's Plaza Live faces losing liquor license after Christmas Drag Show Controversy

On the day of the show, December 28, The The Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco targeted The Plaza Live owners, The Orlando Philharmonic Plaza Foundation, sending them a letter that threatened to suspend the venue’s alcohol license if any children or younger teens attended the performance of “A Drag Queen Christmas” by the drag group Drag Fans.


Orlando's Plaza Live faces losing liquor license after Christmas Drag Show Controversy

In the letter, state officials wrote that they believed the show, may have involved “the exposure of sexual organs, simulated sexual activity, and/or the sexualization of children’s stories.”


According to the department, Drag Fans’ drag shows have been marketed to and attended by young children in the past. State officials added that sexually explicit drag shows constitute public nuisances, lewd activity and disorderly conduct when children are attending the shows.


Secretary of Business and Professional Regulation Melanie Griffin said that the foundation would be responsible for making sure that no minors are in attendance at Wednesday’s show.


“In short, if you allow children to attend the Drag Fans drag show at your facility, you are putting your license in jeopardy...” Griffin wrote. “If minors are allowed to attend this drag show, the Department will take any and all actions available to ensure that you do not pose a threat to minors in the future.”


State officials also stated that exposing children to sexually explicit activities is a crime in Florida, which would warrant revocation of the venue’s liquor license.


Despite the warnings, the venue went ahead with the performance.


Orlando's Plaza Live faces losing liquor license after Christmas Drag Show Controversy

The management at Plaza Live posted a sign at the entrance of the venue, advising that some of the content may not be suitable for those under the age of 18.


However, the state released images of adults bringing children into the venue.


Orlando's Plaza Live faces losing liquor license after Christmas Drag Show Controversy

On the night of the show, police were in attendance to oversee protestors and counter protestors who had gathered outside the venue ahead of the performance.


Protestors proclaiming to be conservatives, and christians compared the show to a strip show at a strip club, and claimed the show was x rated and pornographic, and that taking a child to a drag show amounted to child abuse.


Orlando's Plaza Live faces losing liquor license after Christmas Drag Show Controversy

Counter protestors pushed back on the claims stating that the show included no nudity, and that it was up to parents whether their kids could attend a mature content show or not, much the same as in movie theatres.


The protests and counter protests continued until after the show ended, with no reports of any physical altercations, or arrests.


Orlando's Plaza Live faces losing liquor license after Christmas Drag Show Controversy

Fast forward to today, Friday, February 4, On Friday, an administrative complaint was released that shows the department is revoking the venue’s license for the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages.


According to the complaint, the show featured several sexualized adaptations of popular Christmas songs for children, including “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth” and “Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer.”


The show also featured performers engaging in “simulated sexual activity,” exposing their buttocks and wearing prosthetic female genitalia, the complaint shows.


Due to the allegations included in the complaint, state officials said the department was granted authority to revoke the venue’s license.


The Orlando Philharmonic Plaza Foundation Board of Directors released a statement in response on Friday night. "The Plaza Live has always been a welcoming and inclusive establishment that operates in good faith and compliance with all applicable laws. That includes respecting the rights of parents to decide what content is or is not appropriate for their own children," read the statement. "After hosting similar holiday drag performances for 8 consecutive years, without incident, we have just been made aware of this administrative complaint and are working with our legal team to evaluate and respond appropriately."


Plaza Live Orlando



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