Kari Lake, the Trump-backed candidate for Arizona governor, was called out as a hypocrite by a legendary Arizona drag queen, Barbra Seville. Seville, also known as Rick Stevens, took to Facebook to expose her former friend – a woman who Stevens thought was an ally – after Lake posted this message on both Instagram and Twitter on Friday: “They kicked God out of schools and welcomed the Drag Queens.”
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. 🇺🇸
— Kari Lake for AZ Governor (@KariLake) June 18, 2022
According to The Arizona Republic’s Laurie Roberts, the drag artist Barbra Seville is widely known in Phoenix. She’s been performing around the city for two and a half decades — from theaters to bars, private parties, and even Lake’s home. Seville took to Facebook to call the gubernatorial hopeful out, revealing a history of Lake’s less than Trumpy words and actions. Seville said in the post about her former friend: “She supported Obama and now I’m here to tell you that she supported drag queens and had her kid in front of drag kids.”
Even better, there were receipts. NBC’s Brahm Resnick shared Stevens’ post, as Barbra Seville, including some interesting photographic evidence:
— Brahm Resnik (@brahmresnik) June 18, 2022
Lake’s attempts to gaslight also came with receipts from Seville. In an attempt to brand Seville a liar — and save face — Lake’s campaign used semantics to try and discredit the facts. She pushed the narrative that, according to her campaign:
“Richard’s accusations were full of lies. 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.”
Stevens asserts the it was she, as Barbra Seville, who performed as Marilyn Monroe – and that Lake’s young daughter was there. Stevens told Roberts in their interview that:
“She’s friends with drag queens She’s had her kid in front of a drag queen. Ive 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.”
According to Stevens, they met in the late 1990s and that Lake and her Fox 10 co-workers frequented a gay bar after work, the 307 Lounge, where other drag queens – in addition to Seville – performed. Here’s a photo of Kari Lake with the drag queen Celia Putty, wearing a shirt advertising Barbra Seville:
In a complete 180 from who she was previously, Lake has embraced the GOP’s anti-LGBTQ stance. She said in February that she would not support expanding civil rights protections for Arizona’s LGBTQ citizens as the state’s governor. (Ten cities in the state, including Phoenix, already explicitly protect the LGBTQ community from housing, public and employment discrimination.) However, Nick Vachon at The American Independent reported that Lake is opposed to the proposed sexual orientation/gender orientation, or SOGI, law, allowing “Arizonans who experience discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity to seek legal redress under state civil rights enforcement. ”
AI’s Joshua Israel on Twitter:
Kari Lake defends anti-LGBTQ discrimination in Arizona: 'I have a lot of gay friends' https://t.co/HM29vZPSjs
— Joshua Israel (@jeisrael) February 18, 2022
A far cry from the woman who Stevens says 10-12 years ago invited her to perform at both Lake’s birthday party and a baby shower in 2015 for one of Lake’s Fox 10 colleagues. It was a shower where Lake’s own daughter supposedly performed. Stevens criticizes Lake’s about-face as fake and phony, just an attempt to draw attention away from issues like gun violence. She told The Arizona Republic’s Roberts, “Everyone knows what’s going on. People needed something else to talk about because the conversation was getting too real about gun control and children being killed in schools, so people want to say let’s protect kids from drag queens, instead of protecting kids from gun violence.”
Unfortunately, Stevens is right. Kari Lake has gone all-in on the MAGA talking points and narrative – throwing a long-time friend under the bus in the process. Choosing to be craven, and do whatever it takes to win the governor’s race, regardless of how cruel. This is a disturbing pattern within the GOP, one that I don’t see changing anytime soon.
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