Politics

This drag queen had the best response to an anti-LGBTQ Republican threatening a lawsuit

Kari Lake, Rick Stevens, Barbra Seville, drag queens, Arizona
Kari LakePhoto: YouTube screenshot

The lawyer of Republican Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake has sent a local drag performer a “cease and desist” letter telling them to stop discussing how she once took her child to see him perform in drag, even though she now considers drag queens a threat to kids. The drag performer says he won’t stay silent about her hypocrisy.

In a public June 17 Facebook post, Richard Stevens — an entertainer who performs as drag queen Barbra Seville — wrote that Lake took her kid to a drag show, had invited the performer into her home, and had previously been kicked out of bars for being too drunk.

Related: A religious kook rushed the stage to scream at a drag queen. He didn’t get the response he expected.

Lake’s lawyer Timothy La Sota said in his cease and desist letter that all of Steven’s claims were “damaging lies.” He told Stevens to stop repeating his statements and to delete them from his social media.

“Your claims paint Ms. Lake in a false light,” La Sota wrote.

Stevens’ attorney Tom Ryan responded on Monday with a hilariously fearless letter.

“[Your cease and desist letter] was served on Richard just as he was going to perform at a family-friendly Drag Brunch — the kind of event that Ms. Lake used to enjoy,” the letter began. “Ms. Lake even hired Richard to perform as Barbra Seville at a baby shower for another well-known news anchor. We have the evidence.”

“Something happened to [Lake] to make her mean, angry and sullen. Now Kari is a bully,” the letter continued. “The reservoir of goodwill she had built up over the years as a cherished news anchor — well, that’s been drained to the point where we might as well just refer to her now as Kari Puddles.”

“To be clear: Mr. Stevens will not ‘cease and desist,'” the letter concluded. “If Ms. Lakes moves forward with filing a suit… I cannot imagine your client will be happy to revisit all the times she spent with Barbra Seville when I depose Ms. Lake.”

The public feud between Stevens and Lake began on June 11 when Lake wrote on Twitter and Instagram, “They kicked God out of schools and welcomed the Drag Queens. They took down our Flag and replaced it with a rainbow. They seek to disarm Americans and militarize our Enemies. Let’s bring back the basics: God, Guns & Glory.”

In social media posts, Stevens called Lake “a complete hypocrite,” adding that the two were friends before Lake became a right-wing politician. The drag performer also shared numerous images that showed friendly communications between them.

“She’s friends with drag queens,” Stevens told The Arizona Republic. “She’s had her kid in front of a drag queen. I’ve done drag in her home for her friends and family. She’s not threatened by them. She would come to shows constantly. To make me be the bogeyman for political gain, it was just too much.”

“[Lake has] come to my parties and has been asked to leave because door people thought she was too intoxicated to remain on premises,” Stevens also wrote on social media.

Stevens posted an Instagram screenshot from Lake’s personal account showing Lake hanging out with Stevens in full drag. Lake’s caption said, “Half of what I learned about makeup I learned from watching friends like Barbra Seville.”

In response to Stevens’ posts, Lake’s campaign wrote, “The event in question was a party at someone else’s house, and the performer was there as a Marilyn Monroe impersonator. It wasn’t a drag show, and the issue we’re talking about isn’t adults attending drag shows, either. The issue is activists sexualizing young children, and that’s got to stop.”

Lake apparently doesn’t realize (or doesn’t want to admit) that when a man dresses up as a female celebrity that counts as a drag show. Lake is just one of numerous Republicans who have begun accusing drag queens and LGBTQ people of “sexualizing” and “grooming” children.

Stevens told KPNX, “There are people more vulnerable than me and that’s what I worry about when people say trans people or gay people are this or that,” he said. “It’s horrible and it’s not true and she knows it’s not true.”

In a public statement addressed directly to Lake, Stevens said, “I hope you find some peace, and I hope whatever it is you’re going for is worth the damage that you’ve done.”

When Fox News host Bret Baier asked Lake about Stevens in a recent TV interview, Lake responded, “I’m actually shocked and appalled that Fox News would take a defamatory story like that, and we are pursuing legal action against this drag queen. I’m appalled that you would bring that up when you have not talked about our stolen election.”

Baier responded that he had already asked her three questions about her belief in former President Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.

“Every candidate takes tough stories,” Baier told Lake. “I’m asking you to address this if you’d like to.”

Lake then insultingly compared Fox News to CNN, and Baier chuckled.

Lake is currently leading in polling against her two Republican primary opponents. Republicans in Florida, Texas, and other states have threatened to make it a crime to take children to a drag show. Republicans have claimed that drag queens “sexualize” children, an extension of the recent trend of accusing LGBTQ people and allies of “grooming children” for pedophilic rape.

While some drag performances have adult humor in them, very few contain explicit sexual content. Most drag events attended by children feature lip-sync performances, sing-alongs, and storytelling by performers in colorful costumes and makeup. The performers teach kids about self-acceptance and caring for others who may look or love differently than they do.

Right-wingers have issued terroristic bomb and death threats against local libraries for holding family-friendly drag events. Such protesters sometimes infiltrate the venues, frightening children and their families as well as recording and threatening public exposure of any adults who participate in them.

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