Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake had a heated exchange with Fox News host Brett Baier on Monday evening after he asked her about about allegations that she was a drag queen’s fan.
Lake, who recently criticized drag queens, was called out by Richard Stevens, a popular drag queen from Phoenix who claimed that he and Lake had been friends. Labeling Lake a “complete hypocrite,” Stevens said he had also performed at Lake’s home while children were present.
During her Fox News appearance, Lake said Stevens’ allegations were false, and that she was “appalled” that Baier mentioned them instead of focusing more on the baseless “stolen election” claims that she’s championed in her campaign.
Citing a Washington Post article, Baier brought up the topic of Lake possibly being a fan of drag, which led to Lake turning defensive.
“I’m actually appalled that Fox News would take defamatory story like that, and we are pursuing legal action against this drag queen,” she told Baier. “I’m appalled that you would bring that up when you have not talked about our stolen election.”
Baier countered that the pair had just spent “three questions” addressing Lake’s claims. “Every candidate takes tough stories, I’m asking you to respond to it if you’d like to,” Baier said, referring to the issue of Lake and Stevens.
“I’m happy to address it, but I’m really disappointed in Fox, I thought you were a little better than CNN,” said Lake, who denied that Stevens had ever entered her home.
Baier also asked her about several photos posted by Stevens of Lake posing with him while he was in full drag. Deflecting from the question, Lake later said, “Somebody who goes to a drag show with female impersonators is one thing. We don’t want our tax money going into drag shows at school.”
Lake has condemned drag queen performances for children as “grooming” and “child abuse.” Tweeting a video of a drag queen performing in front of young children in Texas earlier this month, she wrote that such an act “will not be tolerated in a Kari Lake-led Arizona.”
A statement provided by Lake’s campaign team to KPNX reporter Brahm Resnik said Stevens’ claims were “full of lies.” According to The Post, the team also said Stevens was “once a friend” of Lake’s and that the candidate had attended an event with a “Marilyn Monroe impersonator.”
Lake tweeted a clip of the interview with Baier on Monday evening, calling the Fox News host “a fake news Baier.”
—Kari Lake for AZ Governor (@KariLake) June 27, 2022
Lake’s campaign and Fox News did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider.