AP Photo/Steve Cannon
- A Florida Republican couldn’t say whether his wife’s charity event would flout his anti-drag bill.
- The wife of Rep. Randy Fine is hosting a gala featuring “sultry performers,” and kids have attended in the past.
- Rep. Fine told Insider that he doesn’t believe children should be invited to such events.
A Florida Republican who has defended his anti-drag legislation in the name of protecting children, couldn’t say whether his wife’s upcoming charity gala — which is billed as featuring “sultry performers” — would flout his own proposed bill to criminalize “adult live performances” in front of kids.
State Rep. Randy Fine sparked controversy this week while discussing legislation he introduced earlier this year that would block venues from admitting children to certain performance events. The bill itself does not directly mention drag, but opponents say the legislation is meant to target drag performers and could effectively shutter local pride parades.
During comments on the Florida House floor on Wednesday, Fine, whose district covers southern Brevard County, acknowledged that queer performers would likely be impacted by the proposed law.
“If it means erasing a community because you have to target children, then damn right, we ought to do it,” Fine said.
—Florida’s Voice (@FLVoiceNews) April 12, 2023
But the Protection of Children Act could have unintended consequences for non-drag-related events — including Fine’s own wife’s charity work.
Wendy Fine is listed as the co-host of an upcoming annual gala to raise money for a Florida children’s charity called Spring Forward for Autism. The description for the event advertises an “evening filled with sultry performers.”
Local news site The Space Coast Rocket was first to report on the forthcoming Saturday event, as well as Wendy Fine’s previous role as an apparent performer in the 2021 gala, during which female dancers were photographed wearing revealing costumes and what appeared to be lingerie.
Rep. Fine’s proposed legislation defines “adult live performance” as “any show, exhibition, or other presentation in front of a live audience, which, in whole or in part, depicts or simulates nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, or specific sexual activities.”
The Spring Forward for Autism website features photos from past galas, most of which appear to include a dance performance element featuring women in “sultry” outfits. Photo collections from the 2018 and 2019 gala suggest that at least one child was present at the event and even performed with adults during the 2018 gala.
A representative for Spring Forward for Autism did not immediately respond to Insider’s question about whether children will be excluded from this year’s “sultry” event, but nothing on the flyer or the organization’s website indicated that kids are not allowed.
Rep. Fine, who is listed as one of the gala’s prominent sponsors, told Insider that he has been to the event “several” times and cannot remember a child ever being there.
“It isn’t an inexpensive ticket and isn’t billed as family-friendly,” he said.
But the lawmaker could not ultimately answer whether such an event would be criminalized if his bill becomes law.
“To qualify as an ‘adult live performance’ under the proposed law, an event has to meet many criteria and without knowing exactly what they are doing, I can’t answer your question,” he told Insider.
“That said, whether this law passes or not, I would agree that children should not be invited to an event involving ‘sultry performers,'” he added.
Wendy Fine did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Rep. Fine’s legislation comes amid a wave of anti-drag and anti-trans sentiment across GOP-led states, especially in Florida where Gov. Ron DeSantis revoked the Hyatt Regency Miami’s alcohol license earlier this year after one of its facilities hosted “A Drag Queen Christmas” with minors present.