Florida settles with Miami hotel over drag queen Christmas show

Florida regulators announced that they reached a settlement with a Miami hotel this week, ending a legal dispute over a holiday drag show the hotel hosted last year.

Earlier this year, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation sought to revoke the liquor license of the Hyatt Regency Miami after the hotel held a Christmas-themed drag show in the presence of minors.

Hyatt Regency Miami hotel.
Hyatt Regency Miami hotel.Google

The performance, “A Drag Queen Christmas,” was held in December of last year at the hotel as a part of a wider holiday-themed tour that took place across 36 U.S. cities. It featured several stars from the Emmy-winning competition show “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Minors were permitted if they were accompanied by an adult.

In a 17-page complaint filed in March, Florida regulators argued that the show violated the state’s statutes on lewdness and exposed children to “simulated sexual activity, and lewd, vulgar, and indecent displays.”

As part of the settlement, the Miami hotel will pay a $5,000 fine and has agreed not to allow anyone under the age of 18 to attend any performance at the hotel that “contains, depicts or simulates any activities” described in Florida’s statutes on lewdness.

“Under the leadership of Governor DeSantis, when licensees break the law, they are held accountable,” Melanie S. Griffin, a spokesperson for the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, said in a statement. “DBPR takes the safety and wellbeing of Floridians seriously; I thank our hardworking officers for thoroughly investigating these violations of Florida law and protecting minors at our DBPR-licensed establishments from this harm in the future.”

A spokesperson for the hotel did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for comment.

The settlement caps off a year that included an unprecedented push from state lawmakers across the U.S. to restrict drag, a decades-old art form that has deep roots with the LGBTQ community. Lawmakers in over a dozen states have introduced laws intended to restrict drag performances. Six of those states, including Florida, passed their versions of the laws.

However, many of these new laws have been struck down or blocked by courts. Just last month, the Supreme Court rejected Florida’s request to enforce its drag law after a lower court blocked the measure statewide. A district judge in June found the Florida law to be “specifically designed to suppress the speech of drag queen performers.”

Florida’s settlement with the Hyatt Regency Miami follows similar settlements the state made in recent months with a Miami restaurant and an Orlando nonprofit for hosting drag shows last year.