Trump-backed Arizona governor candidate branded a ‘hypocrite’ by drag queen who performed at her birthday

‘To make me be the bogeyman for political gain, it was just too much,’ said Richard Stevens, who goes by the stage name Barbra Seville

<p>Rick Stevens,  who has performed as drag queen Barbra Seville in Phoenix for more than two decades, said over the weekend that Trump-backed gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake had attended ‘countless’ of his shows</p>

Rick Stevens, who has performed as drag queen Barbra Seville in Phoenix for more than two decades, said over the weekend that Trump-backed gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake had attended ‘countless’ of his shows

Leer en Español

An Arizona gubernatorial candidate has been branded a hypocrite by a drag queen who performed at the politician’s birthday.

Donald Trump-backed Republican candidate Kari Lake, 52, drew backlash on Friday when she asserted on Twitter that drag queens have been “welcomed” into public school classrooms while God was “kicked out”, echoing a conservative narrative seized upon in recent weeks by GOP politicians who say drag performers are a danger to minors.

“They kicked God out of schools and welcomed the Drag Queens. They took down our Flag and replaced it with a rainbow,” Ms Lake tweeted, before asking that the country go back to the basics of, “God, Guns & Glory”.

Her tweet comes amid a wider Republican attack on drag performers, with Texas lawmakers proposing legislation that would effectively ban people from hosting drag shows in the presence of minors and Florida’s governor floating the idea of ordering child protective services to investigate parents who take kids to the shows.

Ms Lake’s remarks caught special attention from Richard Stevens - more famously known by the drag name he’s performed under for more than two decades, Barbra Seville - who took it upon himself to provide the receipts for Ms Lake’s relationship with the drag world and what he characterised as blatant “hypocrisy”.

“I’ve performed for Kari’s birthday, I’ve performed in her home (with children present,) and I’ve performed for her at some of the seediest bars in Phoenix,” wrote Mr Stevens in a Facebook post on his Barbra Seville account.

“Kari was a friend of mine,” he said, adding that he had continued to stand by her, even when “she turned to the right”.

Alongside the post, Mr Stevens shared pictures of Ms Lake posing with him dressed in drag at what appears to be various drag shows.

The now-viral Facebook post prompted the Arizona Central to follow-up with Mr Stevens about the accusations he levelled against the now hard-right governor candidate, where he recounted the occasion where he claims he performed in front of Ms Lake’s then-elementary-school-aged daughter.

“She’s had her kids in front of a drag queen. I’ve done drag in her home for her friends and family,” Mr Stevens told Arizona Central, before explaining why he felt motivated last week to take their past relationship public. “She would come to shows constantly. To make me be the bogeyman for political gain, it was just too much.”

“So 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,” he told the Arizona news outlet, asserting that the Ms Lake that he’s known since the 90s has “has had her kids in front of drag kids”.

Kari Lake, left, dressed as Elvis, poses alongside drag queen Barbra Seville

A separate picture was also unearthed by NBC News affiliate KPNX by reporter Brahm Resnick, showing Ms Lake with Mr Stevens. The caption on the photo, purportedly posted to Ms Lake’s personal Instagram account, reads: “Half of what I know about makeup I learned from watching friends like @barbraseville.”

Ms Lake’s campaign was quick to hit back at the accusations levelled against her by a person who characterised her as once being a “friend” to the Trump-backed candidate, even when she made a pivot to the right.

“It is truly disgusting that this even has to be addressed, but adults should not undress in front of children or sexualize them in anyway,” Ms Lake wrote in a tweet on Sunday afternoon, while resharing a screenshot of her campaign’s official statement.

“Richard Stevens is a talented comedian and performer that Kari Lake covered during her TV career,” the statement began, noting that Mr Stevens, who she, too, said was “once a friend”, “has now resorted to public attacks on Lake for her political views”.

“Like most sane people, Kari Lake is very much opposed to grown men or women dancing provocatively for children,” the statement read.

In a separate response, shared with KPNX, the campaign rebutted the claims that Ms Lake and her daughter had attended one of Mr Stevens’ shows and said: “Richard’s accusations are full of lies”.

“Not once has [Lake’s] daughter been to a drag show. But since she is over the age of 18, if she chooses to do so, that’s completely up to her,” a spokesperson told the news outlet.

The Independent has reached out to Ms Lake and Mr Stevens for comment but did not hear back by the time of publication.

Ms Lake, who is considered to be one of the GOP frontrunners for Arizona’s next governor, has also been a vocal promoter of Mr Trump’s “Big Lie”, stating that the results of the election were “stolen” and has even called for the imprisonment of Arizona’s Democratic secretary of state.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in