Drag queen says Kari Lake was one of his biggest fans before campaign

One of Valley's premier drag queens says Kari Lake, who has been critical of drag queens, says she was a close friend and one of his biggest fans.
Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 8:12 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Kari Lake is one of the leading Republicans running for Arizona governor and has been highly critical of men dressing up as women in drag to perform on stage. Now one of the Valley’s premier drag queens says Lake was a close friend and one of his biggest fans before launching her campaign.

Richard Stevens, who’s known on stage as “Barbra Seville” said he has known Lake for 20 years and was shocked and personally hurt when she decided to target drag queens as part of her campaign. Lake said drag queens pose a danger to children. “I was very thoughtful with my wording. I didn’t want to refer to her in a derogatory way. I didn’t want to come off as anti-woman, anti-Republican. It’s just hypocrisy,” Stevens told Arizona’s Family.

During the weekend, Stevens ripped Lake on social media. He shared pictures of her attending his shows, sitting next to him during a newscast, of Lake dressed in drag, and a screenshot of a personal message from Lake. He also said he performed as Marilyn Monroe in front of Lake’s young daughter. “I didn’t show up at her house as Marylyn Monroe. I was contacted by her, I was compensated by her. She treated me like a friend until it became inconvenient,” Stevens said.

The drama played out days after Lake posted on Twitter, claiming they kicked God out of schools and welcomed drag queens. In response to Stevens’ posts, Lake’s campaign confirmed her daughter did attend a baby shower where Stevens dressed up as Marilyn Monroe, but the campaign said it was an impersonator, not a drag queen. Staff also sought to draw a line between drag queens that perform at clubs and those that perform at schools and children’s events.

Republicans in Arizona and across the country claim that drag shows in front of kids sexualizes them. But Stevens said any of his shows with children are G-rated. “It’s just an exercise in reading the room and understanding who you’re performing for. I’ve performed princess parties. That’s not what I want to do. I don’t want to perform in front of kids. They don’t have any money. It’s a false controversy,” said Stevens. Lake has threatened legal action against Stevens who says he’s not scared of that.

At Arizona’s Family, we believe in full transparency. The event referenced in this story was at Arizona’s Family anchor Yetta Gibson’s baby shower that took place 12 years ago. Lake organized the shower and Stevens was in attendance.