Rep. George Santos, who initially denied claims that he performed as a drag queen, later appeared to admit that he once had fun at a festival dressing as a woman.
Recently surfaced videos, however, seem to suggest that Santos dressed as his drag persona over a period of at least three years, casting doubt on his claim that it was a one-off occurrence.
The allegations of Santos performing in drag first emerged last week, when freelance journalist Marisa Kabas broke the story in a Substack post.
Kabas spoke to Eula Rochard, a drag queen and former friend of the embattled congressman, who shared a photo appearing to show Santos in a red feathered dress, jewelry, and a black wig.
Rochard said the photo was taken in 2008 at the Pride Parade at Icaraí Beach in Niterói, a city next to Rio de Janeiro, close to where Santos was living at the time.
Rochard later shared more photos of what appears to be Santos in drag, telling Kabas that she met him when he was a teenager and knew him as Anthony Devolder, two of his given names, and Kitara Ravache, his drag name.
Santos initially denied the allegation of being a drag queen, writing on Twitter: “The most recent obsession from the media claiming that I am a drag Queen or ‘performed’ as a drag Queen is categorically false.”
However, the congressman later appeared to confirm the authenticity of the photos, while rejecting the label.
He told reporters: “I was not a drag queen. I was young and I had fun at a festival. Sue me for having a life.”
But videos from before 2008 have started to emerge, suggesting that Santos may have made appearances in drag more regularly than he is letting on.
The New York Post shared a video of what appears to be Santos at Niterói’s first pride parade, in 2005, speaking in Portuguese to a reporter about all of the gay venues he had performed in.
The journalist in the video, Joâo Fragah, told NBC News that he was very confident that Santos was the person he interviewed.
The person in the video is wearing sunglasses and a black dress, a description that matches what Rochard told ReutersSantos used to wear at the time.
Rochard told the news agency that in 2005 Santos was a “poor” drag queen who usually dressed in a simple black dress.
At the time, Santos would have been around 17. A Wikipedia page accessed by Politico showed a user named Anthony Devolder, a name used by Santos, editing an entry to say that he had started out at “age 17 as an gay night club DRAG QUEEN.”
Another video published by the Brazilian current affairs show Fantástico on Monday reportedly shows Santos wearing a red feathered dress at Niterói Gay Parade in 2007.
Videos and photos, spanning from 2005 to 2008, indicate that Santos may have been dressing in drag at events for several years, despite his denial that he was ever a drag queen.
Insider contacted Santos for comment but did not immediately receive a response.
Santos, who is gay, has received criticism for his drag-queen past after he has increasingly aligned himself with far-right GOP lawmakers, some of whom have accused drag queens of grooming children.
He also supported Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill, which critics have labeled the “Don’t Say Gay” bill — legislation that aims to restrict the teaching of sexual orientation and gender issues in kindergartens and elementary schools.
Santos has been accused of lying about his past, including fabricating elements of his employment history, education, and his mother being present at 9/11.