Kari Lake is running for Arizona Governor.
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- A Phoenix drag queen says he was friends with Kari Lake, a Republican running for Arizona governor.
- Richard Stevens said he performed in drag in front of Lake’s daughter, who was 9 or 10 at the time.
- Lake’s campaign said Stevens claims were “full of lies” but said her daughter did see a Marilyn Monroe impersonator perform.
A popular Phoenix drag queen called out Kari Lake, the Trump-endorsed Republican candidate for governor in Arizona, over her comments about drag queens.
Richard Stevens, who has performed as drag queen Barbra Seville for decades, said in a Facebook post on Friday he and Lake used to be friends but her recent comments on drag queens showed she was a “complete hypocrite.”
He included several photos of him and Lake and wrote: “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.”
In a text exchange with Insider, Stevens said he performed as Marilyn Monroe in front of Lake’s daughter, who was around 9 or 10 at the time, and again said he performed inside Lake’s home.
“I spoke up because her alarming rise to power under these new ‘views’ are scary and can lead to real harm to me and other marginalized people,” Stevens said.
—Brahm Resnik (@brahmresnik) June 18, 2022
He spoke out after Lake waded into the latest target of conservative outrage: kids being exposed to drag queens. He included a screenshot of a tweet Lake had sent hours prior.
“They kicked God out of schools and welcomed the Drag Queens. They took down our Flag and replaced it with a rainbow,” she wrote. “They seek to disarm Americans and militarize our Enemies. Let’s bring back the basics: God, Guns & Glory.”
On June 4, Lake’s campaign also tweeted condemning drag queens. The account retweeted a video that showed a drag queen performing in front of kids in Texas and added: “This is grooming. This is child abuse. Maybe that’s acceptable in Dallas, Texas. But it will not be tolerated in a @KariLake-led Arizona.”
Lake did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.
In a statement provided to KPNX reporter Brahm Resnik, Lake’s campaign said Stevens’ claims 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,” the statement said.
Lake’s campaign told The Arizona Republic Lake “is pursuing legal action and anyone that prints those lies should be prepared for a legal fight as well.” The outlet also reported the campaign appeared to differentiate between a drag show and a man dressed up as a woman as an impersonation.
When speaking to The Arizona Republic, Stevens got emotional when discussing Lake’s friendship.
“Kari contacted me after my parents died,” he said. “It meant the world to me, it really meant the world to me. So to see her just throw me under the bus for a vote, that’s why I had to say something.”
In December 2014, Lake posted a photo on Instagram of her and Stevens dressed in drag, along with the caption: “Half of what I know about makeup I learned from watching friends like @barbraseville.”
A post shared by Kari Lake (@karilake)
She also posted photos earlier that year from a drag show.