DeSantis Says He Vetoed Culture Funding to Stop Paying For 'Sexual' Fringe Festivals

DeSantis Says He Vetoed Culture Funding to Stop Paying For 'Sexual' Fringe Festivals

Liv Caputo
Liv Caputo
June 27, 2024

AUBURNDALE, FL—Governor Ron DeSantis said he vetoed $32 million from the state's budget because he doesn't want money going toward things the government can't control, such as the "sexual" and "inappropriate" Fringe Festival.

"This is money that would go and—we didn't have control over how it was being given, so you have your tax dollars being given in grants to things like the Fringe Festival, which is like a sexual festival where they're doing all this stuff, and it's like, how many of you think your tax dollars should go to fund that? Not very many people would do that," DeSantis said at a Thursday press conference.

The Fringe Festival, according to its website, began in Scotland in 1947 when artists "rebelled against the curated city arts festival, performing their shows on the “fringe” of the larger festival," and has since spread worldwide. There are now Fringe Festivals in 40 different countries with 28 locations in the United States—three of which are in Florida.

These Florida locations are in Tampa, Orlando, and Fort Myers, where they perform shows like the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

"And so when I see money being spent that way, I have to be the one to stand up for taxpayers and say you know what, that is an inappropriate use of taxpayer dollars, and I think the Legislature needs to reevaluate how that's being done," DeSantis continued, explaining that he can "sell" the idea of taxpayer money going toward transportation, education, or natural resource protection, but, "I can't sell the Fringe Festival to taxpayers, nor would I want to try to sell the Fringe Festival to taxpayers!"

However, this revocation of funding has sent a series of museums and non-profit arts and culture groups "reeling", WUSF reported, as more than 600 arts organizations that expected to receive funding are now scrambling to "fill a financial void."

“It’s a huge disappointment and a quandary,” Michael Tomor, the executive director of the Tampa Museum of Art, told The Tampa Bay Times. “We are all unclear as to why this happened.”

Tomor said the museum anticipated receiving over half a million dollars from the state in the next fiscal year and planned to use those funds for a building expansion project and exhibition education programs. Now, he says, other avenues must be explored.

This $32 million veto was part of nearly $1 billion struck from the budget by the Governor.

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Liv Caputo

Liv Caputo

Livia Caputo is a senior at Florida State University, working on a major in Criminology, and a triple minor in Psychology, Communications, and German. She has been working on a journalism career for the past year, and hopes to become a successful reporter after graduation. Her work has been cited in Fox News, the New York Post, and the Daily Mail

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