Palace South Beach came under attack after a video from April posted by a right-wing influencer surfaced of children dancing with a drag queen and collecting money from the crowd.
Angela Stanton-King, who was famously pardoned by former President Donald Trump and has 300,000 followers on Instagram, posted the video during a visit to the club on April 15 and claimed that the children were being sexually exploited.
“What is the difference between these two girls taking a photo and frolicking around fashion show runway style with a drag queen or two girls being called on stage at Disney and dancing around with Elsa or Snow White? Homophobia and transphobia,” Anthony Michael, the director of operations at Palace, wrote in an email.
On her Instagram, she shared two videos from her trip to Palace — the first with the two sets of young girls dancing with the drag queen outside and taking money from customers who were seated. The Ocean Drive drag bar has been in business for more than 30 years with larger-than-life drag performers and dancers. Drawing a crowd every day, the performances often are standing-room-only.
But Stanton-King was not impressed by what she saw during her visit — the two sets of girls joined the drag queen for a matter of seconds and took bills from customers. One child gave the money to the performer. According to Local 10, the children were with their parents.
“I feel very offended and disrespected by being a survivor of sexual abuse,” Stanton-King told an employee in a second video, likening it to the children being at a strip club.
A screenshot of a child dancing with the drag queen.
Her followers applauded her, saying she exposed child abuse, child trafficking, and proclaimed that this is “Biden’s America.” In another post, she called on the Palace to “ban children from your x-rated establishment.” Later, she shared that she is in need of an attorney and is in an “undisclosed location” because her physical safety had been threatened. She shared her CashApp name for donations and said that reporter Christian De La Rosa, who reported the story for Local 10, the station, and Palace “need to be sued for Defamation and Slander.”
She has “EXPOSE CHILD TRAFFICKING” on her Instagram bio, and she has posted numbers of homophobic, transphobic, anti-vaxxer and anti-mask posts, as well as other QAnon conspiracy theories such as Melinda Gates being a man. A popular QAnon theory grew over the Trump presidency that politicians and Hollywood celebrities are part of an underground child trafficking ring; SFGN reported on the Save the Children movement last year.
Stanton-King is an author, television personality, and the founder of the American King Foundation; she is the goddaughter of Alveda King, the niece of the late Martin Luther King, Jr. She went to prison for more than two years from a 2004 federal conviction for her involvement in a stolen car ring and was pardoned by Trump in February 2020. She was an outspoken supporter of his and a 2020 Republican candidate for Georgia’s 5th congressional district, challenging the late John Lewis. Her platform was prison reform, anti-abortion, and uplifting the Black community.
“She came there with an agenda,” Michael continued in his email. “She is a convicted criminal who was pardoned not for innocence but for her rallying support of former President Trump. She was never rehabilitated but [came up] with a new method of stealing money very similar to the phone scams we receive — she finds a topic and creates lies and a scandal to raise Venmo and cash app monies. She preys on other right-wing extremists to help broaden her agenda.”
On social media, she continually shares homophobic and transphobic news stories and memes. In March 2020, she tweeted that the LGBT community is “confusion, pedophilia and sexual exploitation wrapped up in acceptance.” On Tuesday, she posted a photo on Instagram of 13-year-old Zaya Wade, the daughter of retired NBA basketball player Dwyane Wade, who recently came out as trans. She wrote, “They’re letting us know what their agenda is. IDC what y’all say, it’s not right. This is a man child.” She also shared a screenshot of a tweet from President Joe Biden showing his support for International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, in which she asked, “Why do they keep leaving out heterophobia?”
Stanton-King has a transgender daughter, who she continually misgenders. She appeared on the “Dr. Phil” show on April 5, where she said, “I won’t accept my son as a woman.” However, she wasn’t happy with how her interview went and dragged the talk show host on Twitter, which led to the social media platform suspending her account.
“Twitter suspended my account because I’m BLACK,” she wrote on Instagram.
Michael criticized Instagram for not doing the same when Stanton-King’s posts lead Palace’s account to be inundated with spam and hate, including one person commenting, “I hope y’all end up like Pulse,” referring to the 2016 shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando that killed 49 guests.
“Why would she come to a famously known LGBT restaurant bar with [transgender] and drag entertainers, when she has a well-known hatred for our community?” Michael asked. “The horrendous comments and emails and remarks have put everyone on uneasy ground. Our community has endured so much over the past century, but I can assure you that we will always rise up and defend ourselves, we are no longer allowing anyone to make us victims. We deserve our place at the table and we will have our voices heard.”