One of the Phoenix area's best-known drag queens is calling his former friend — Republican candidate for governor Kari Lake — a hypocrite after Lake weighed in on drag performances, the latest front in the conservative culture war.

Richard Stevens, who has performed for 25 years as Barbra Seville, said he was disappointed and decided to speak out after Lake tweeted Friday that "they kicked God out of schools and welcomed the Drag Queens. They took down our Flag and replaced it with a rainbow."

Stevens shared pictures and texts from Lake in several social media posts and said Lake had attended countless shows and private events over the decades of their friendship. He said he had performed as Marilyn Monroe in front of Lake's daughter when she was 9 or 10 years old.

"She's picked a side in the culture war, but her actions in the past don't support it," Stevens said in an interview. "Of course my feelings are hurt, but it just proves that she is a hypocrite. ... She's thrown away my friendship with her to get votes from people that would rather hate gays or hate drag queens." 

Stevens is one more critic to say Lake is new to such conservative beliefs, accusations that have dogged Lake's year-old campaign and offered opportunity for her opponents to attack. Lake is running a Donald Trump-inspired campaign to replace Republican Gov. Doug Ducey and has used false claims the 2020 election was stolen as a signature talking point.

One GOP opponent blasted her Second Amendment record when Lake only could provide evidence she'd been a member of the Nationa... since its anniversary, in 2021. Lake was previously a Democrat, a fact she has embraced along the campaign trail. She has also been criticized for proposing an amnesty plan for millions of migrants, despite now tak... and pledging to deport immigrants using state resources if she is elected.

Kari Lake poses as Elvis in this undated photo with drag queen Barbra Seville, who has performed in the Valley for 25 years.

Lake's campaign pushed back on parts of Stevens' posts, saying they were "full of defamatory lies and Kari is pursuing legal action and anyone that prints those lies should be prepared for a legal fight as well."

In multiple statements, the campaign appeared to draw a distinction between a man dressed as a woman serving as an "impersonator" and a drag show.



Ross Trumble, Lake's spokesman, said Lake's daughter had attended a baby shower where Stevens "showed up as a Marilyn Monroe impersonator." Stevens said he performed for the private gathering that day.

"Not once has her 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 statement from the Lake campaign reads. "That's the whole point that's being made."

The statement says Lake's Twitter post was written by an unnamed "Lake staffer, who happens to be gay, and like millions of Gay Men and Women is fed up with extreme leftism perverting the fight for equality."



Lake is among a growing number of Republican lawmakers targeting drag performances billed as family friendly. "The issue is activists sexualizing young children," the campaign said in the statement, "and that's got to stop."

Conservative lawmakers in Texas and Florida are considering banning minors from drag shows, and Republican leaders in the Arizona Senate announced last week they w... GOP leaders in Arizona criticized drag shows as a dangerous "perversion" for children.

Stevens, who has publicly supported Democrat Katie Hobbs for governor, has previously stood by Lake despite her conservative campaign because of their friendship. He described her as a sweet person and became emotional speaking about Lake's support after his parents died.

"Kari contacted me after my parents died ..." he said, breaking off. "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."



Arizona voters will begin casting their ballots in roughly three weeks in the state's primary election, picking candidates to square off in a November general election that includes high-profile U.S. Senate, governor and secretary of state races, among many others.

Stevens said he was undeterred by Lake's threat of legal action.

“If Kari sues me, she’ll get 66 pairs of high heels, 112 wigs, a rescue dog and my mom’s ashes," he said. 

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Comment by John Matthews on July 27, 2022 at 5:14pm

 She a Rino..............

Comment by Windy Crow on July 27, 2022 at 10:03am
Actually John, Robson is backed by the McCains, Ducey and Democrats. That should tell you everything you need to know.
Comment by John Matthews on July 17, 2022 at 11:29am

 Where does she on the 2nd and the human right to own arms???????

Never got a clear answer. Having worked  in the lamestream media for 20 years in tv broadcast, these people don't change...

Still don't trust Kari

   JUST ANOTHER FUTURE RINO.... 

RINOS 2022 !!!  The new Boss the same as the old boss.............

Comment by LaMont E. Andrews on July 17, 2022 at 9:54am

I have to say that I used to feel the same way as the writer but after considering all that I've seen and heard lately, I WILL and encourage all of you to cote for Kari Lake for governor next month. I recently read an article comparing her to Ronald Reagan who as we know came out of the sewer that was/is Hollywood and that turned out very well for us all. I don't claim to know it all BUT I do KNOW that God uses people for His purposes just as He did with a very flawed King David many years ago and that turned out pretty darn well. I for one am fed up with the RINOs(McCain, Flake, Kyle,Ducey and many others who have 'pretending' to represent us for years, only to sell us out There has to be a reason that Kari has been endorsed by President Trump as well as a number of mt JBS friends locally so I encourage everyone to do their own research and decide what/who will be best for our families, our state and our nation...

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