Trump-endorsed Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake is the latest in a long line of GOP politicians to claim drag shows are a danger for children. But one of Phoenix’s most famous drag queens just publicly called her out for taking part in the drag scene herself—and allegedly letting her own daughter join in the fun.
Rick Stevens, better known to Phoenix’s queer scene as established drag queen Barbra Seville, brought all the receipts in posts on Twitter and Facebook on Friday night, sharing photos of himself and Lake together, apparently at drag events, before he says Lake “turned to the right.”
Lake, who former President Donald Trump praised as someone who will fight to end “woke” curriculum in schools, recently took to social media to weigh in on the conservative fight to prevent children from attending drag shows.
“They kicked God out of schools and welcomed the Drag Queens,” Lake wrote on Friday, on Instagram and Twitter. “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.”
But Stevens said this stance is a far cry from the Lake he’s known since her ‘90s Fox10 news days, when he said she frequented a club he performed at.
Stevens wrote that he’s performed for Lake’s birthday, in her home (with young children in attendance), and at “some of the seediest bars in Phoenix.”
In an interview with Arizona Central, Stevens said Lake’s comments were shocking. He also recalled a time when he said she allowed her young daughter to watch Seville perform.
“She’s friends with drag queens,” he said. “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.”
“Kari was a friend of mine, and I stood by her when she turned to the right,” Stevens wrote.
Lake seemed to be a supporter of the LGBTQ+ community in screenshots of private messages Stevens posted that date back to 2012.
The Republican candidate’s campaign was quick to hit back on Stevens’ claims, however.
“Richard’s accusations were full of lies,” Lake’s campaign wrote in a statement. “The event in question was at 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.”
Above all, Stevens told Arizona Central he feels betrayed by Lake, who he considers to be a hypocrite.
“If I can do anything to expose the hypocrisy, and if I can do anything to keep someone like that, a few votes away, from power, I’m happy to do that,” Stevens said.