Anti-‘Groomer’ Republican Accused of ‘Inappropriate Relationship’ With Intern

Texas Rep. Bryan Slaton called all-ages drag shows “grooming events” that “sexualize” children. An official complaint alleges he had an “inappropriate relationship” with a young intern.
Cameron Joseph
Washington, US
Bryan Slaton (Bryan Slaton for Texas House)

A Texas Republican who has led the charge to ban all-ages drag shows because of his deep concern over “the sexualization of our children” is facing allegations of inviting an intern to his home late on a weekend night and serving her alcohol even though she isn’t old enough to legally drink.

Texas state Rep. Bryan Slaton has reportedly had a complaint filed against him with the Texas state legislature that claims he had an “inappropriate relationship” with an intern.


A complaint filed with the House General Investigating Committee by a legislative staffer and obtained by the Texas Tribune, as well as a Tribune source with direct knowledge of the incident, said that Stanton called the intern, who is under age 21, after 10 p.m. on Friday, March 31, and invited her to his apartment, where he served her alcohol.

According to allegations in the complaint obtained by the Tribune, Slaton later showed that intern fake emails that claimed to have information about the incident in an apparent loyalty test, and told her not to tell anyone about the incident.

Slaton’s attorney denied the claims.

“We are aware of outrageous claims circulating online by second-tier media that make false claims against Representative Slaton,” Slaton attorney Patrick Short said in a statement to the Texas Tribune. “As a result, he has been advised to forward all inquiries in this matter—including any that may relate to a possible complaint—to his legal counsel.”

Slaton, who is 45 years old, has spent more than a year denouncing all-ages drag performances, and last month he introduced a bill to ban drag shows from having kids in attendance.


“In the wake of these erotic drag performances sweeping our state, I committed last year to filing legislation that would stop this disgusting practice in the presence of children,”  he said in a statement announcing the bill.

“The State has a duty to protect kids from being sexually exploited, and HB 4129 is the most comprehensive bill to stop the sexualization of kids by these performances,” he continued.

Slaton has previously blasted an all-ages drag show as a “grooming event.”

“This is just going to the grooming, the sexualization of our children,” he said last summer. “This comes down to decency, morality and ethics, and children should not be the object of your sexualization, your desires.”

Just days ago, after the incident with the intern allegedly occurred, Slaton posted a Bible passage warning against those who would lead children astray:

Slaton was absent from the Texas legislature last Thursday, a major legislative day. 

The lawmaker has pushed for some other extreme laws as well. He proposed giving property tax cuts to straight, married couples—but not to married LGBTQ couples or those who have previously been divorced. He also filed a bill to allow Texans to vote on secession from the United States.

Texas Republican House Speaker Dade Phelan said that his office would look into the accusations.

“The Texas House does not tolerate misconduct or other inappropriate behaviors and takes all allegations related to these issues seriously,” he said in a statement. “I expect this matter to be addressed in a swift and thorough manner under the rules governing our chamber for the 88th Legislature and all applicable standards of conduct.”

Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.