Ellie Kemper has officially broken her silence a week after news surfaced she was part of a racist organization.
Kemper, star of “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” came under major scrutiny on June 1st for being crowned the queen of a ball rooted in white supremacy.
The “Bridesmaids” star, who is originally from St. Louis, Missouri, a notoriously Republican state, was crowned queen of the “Veiled Prophet Ball.”
A photo of her attending the ball over 20 years ago began making the rounds last Tuesday. Since then critics have accused her of racist behavior.
The “Veiled Prophet Ball” is a symbol of wealth, power and racism according to ‘STLToday’.
The publication reported, “The organization was co-founded by former Confederate officer Alonzo Slayback. The ball was met with protests in the 1970s and in recent years as well. It had to move from a city-owned auditorium over allegations of racism. The members of the organization didn’t include any black men until 1979.”
The Atlantic reports, “Each year, a person is chosen by a secret board of local elites to anonymously play the role of the Veiled Prophet, who would then choose a “Queen of Love and Beauty” to dance with and receive a gift, such as a tiara or pearls.”
Kemper was crowned queen of the ball in 1999, and the Veiled Prophet is said to be dressed with a white klan-style hood and robe while armed with a pistol and rifle.
The backlash was so severe that Kemper finally spoke out about the incident.
On Monday, June 7, Kemper took to social media to issue an apology. On her grid she posted a series of slides with the following note.
“Hi guys – When I was 19 years old, I decided to participate in a debutante ball in my hometown. The century-old organization that hosted the debutante ball had an unquestionably racist, sexist, and elitist past. I was not aware of this history at the time, but ignorance is no excuse. I was old enough to have educated myself before getting involved. I unequivocally deplore, denounce, and reject white supremacy. At the same time, I acknowledge that because of my race and my privilege, I am the beneficiary of a system that has dispensed unequal justice and unequal rewards.”
Kemper continued, “There is a very natural temptation, when you become the subject of internet criticism, to tell yourself that your detractors are getting it all wrong. But to some point last week, I realized that a lot of the forces behind the criticism are forces that I’ve spent my life supporting and agreeing with. I believe strongly in the values in kindness, integrity, and inclusiveness. I try to live life in accordance with these values. If my experience is an indication that organizations and institutions with pasts that fall short of these beliefs should be held to account, then I have to see this experience in a positive light.”
She apologized to anyone she disappointed and promised that she will listen, educate herself and use her privilege in support of the better society she believes the world is capable of becoming.
Her famous friends showed support in the comments section. Mindy Kaling commented, “❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️.” Alec Baldwin wrote, “You are understood and loved,” and Rainn Wilson said, “you are an awesome and beautiful and brave human being. Xo Love you!”