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 National Rifle Association 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 taking a hard-line stance and pledging to deport immigrants using state resources if she is elected.