Kern used the Senate’s broadcast facility to bash drag performers with a pro-Hitler talk show host

Sen. Anthony Kern (right) appears on the Stew Peters Show on May 1, 2024. Kern used the Arizona Senate's broadcast facilities to speak to Peters (left), a far-right media figure who has embraced antisemitic rhetoric and praised the Nazis. Screenshot via

A Glendale Republican lawmaker who was present for the violence at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and is facing criminal charges for being a fake elector used legislative video equipment to appear on a far-right talk show this week with a host who has declared Adolf Hitler a “hero.” 

On May 1, Sen. Anthony Kern appeared on the Stew Peters show to discuss a Drag Story Hour that was hosted the day before in a basement meeting room in the Arizona House of Representatives. Kern joined the show live on video from the state Senate, which has a video broadcast studio.

The April 30 drag event in the House was hosted by Rep. Lorena Austin, D-Mesa, the nation’s first nonbinary Chicane legislator. When Republicans, who have spent the last several years crusading against drag and the LGBTQ community, learned about the event, it sparked an outcry. 

Kern was the first to post about the event, and he specifically called out his GOP primary opponent for Arizona’s Eighth Congressional District, House Speaker Ben Toma, for allowing the event to take place. 

On Peters’ show, Kern said he thought taxpayers would be outraged at the event for legislators and their staff.

“I said, ‘Hey, Arizona, this is where your tax dollars are going,’” Kern told Peters, appearing from the broadcast filming room on the Senate’s first floor used by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to film videos. 

Peters, a conspiracy theorist, has been increasingly showcasing antisemitism on his social media profiles and on his show. In promotional material, Peters has praised the mass book burning conducted by the Nazis in the lead up to World War II. 

“They did exactly what reasonable people would do if given the opportunity,” Peters said of the Nazi book burnings. The video featured a montage of antisemitic propaganda created by Nazi Germany. 

Peters praised Kern and made the false claim that the drag event in the House included children, calling the drag king that spoke to the small group Tuesday a “mentally ill satanic pedophile.” The event did not include children and Kern did not push back on any of Peters’ claims. 

In the left image, Sen. Brian Fernandez, D-Yuma, filmed a social media video in the Senate’s broadcast facility in April 2024. On the right, Sen. Anthony Kern, R-Glendale, uses the same broadcast facility to appear on a far-right talk show that has openly endorsed antisemitic rhetoric. Screenshots: X/

Peters attacked Toma, implying that the lawmaker could be a “pedohile” or a “groomer,” a term used frequently by anti-LGBTQ extremists to attack the LGBTQ community. The attention from conservative activists towards drag story hours has led to physical attacks on members of that community as well as other threats of violence.  

“Is Ben Toma a pedophile? Is he a groomer?” Peters said on his show before Kern came on to speak. “He’s either incompetent or he is with the pedophiles. It is only one or the other.”

Neither Kern nor a Senate spokeswoman responded to multiple requests for comment. The Capitol broadcast team, who is in charge of the equipment, referred the Arizona Mirror’s inquiry to the Senate spokeswoman, Kim Quintero. 

“I don’t know what to say other than Kern is irrelevant and will continue to be irrelevant in this race,” Toma told the Mirror. “He is not important enough for me to reply.” 

Toma added that any decision on looking into if Kern inappropriately used Senate resources would be up to Senate President Warren Petersen. Toma also defended his position against the use of the Capitol basement for a drag story hour this week. 

“I became aware of it fairly late, and it was already ongoing by the time I became aware of it,” Toma said, adding that he went in person to confirm the event was taking place Tuesday. “It wasn’t approved for that use. The use was supposed to be a stakeholder meeting.” 

Democratic lawmakers have contended that they told Toma’s office that they intended to host the Drag Story Hour event when they reserved the room. 

During the interview, Kern said that churches and Christians need to “rise up” as a remedy to fix the country’s problems. 

“It is time for battle. This is our 1776 moment…We have to rise up and get our country back,” Kern said, adding that he believed God appointed Donald Trump to be president. 

Kern, who was recently indicted by Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes for his role in Donald Trump’s fake elector scheme, sparked controversy last month when he invited members of his church to pray and speak in tongues on the Senate floor ahead of key votes on abortion. 

The move garnered national media attention, and Kern complained about it to Peters. 

“So I led a prayer group down at the Capitol. Somebody filmed it. Somebody tweeted it out,” Kern said, adding that the media went “beserk.” 

“While at the same time they can allow pedophiles, they can allow perverts, they can allow men dressed up as women, and just a perv show in the basement of our (House of) Representatives, and nothing from the media,” Kern said. 

Kern, who was present at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, said that God was “raising up” people like himself, Peters and Trump. He encouraged Peters’ viewers to get involved and for churches to “rise up.” Peters responded that his viewers need to organize militias. 

“I’m talking about organizing with your neighbors in a militia format,” Peters said as Kern nodded in agreement. “Then advising, not asking permission, but advising your sheriff and advising your DA of exactly what you are willing to do to protect your life, your liberty and your property.” 

Peters has called for violence at the U.S.-Mexico border, used racist terminology and has spoken at a white nationalist conference.  

“I believe it has been inappropriate and irresponsible to vilify the LGBTQ+ community for extremist, cheap political points,” Austin said in a statement to the Mirror. “We are tired of fighting the battle to simply exist.”

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