1:03 PM PDT, June 8, 2021
Actress Ellie Kemper has apologized to her fans for her participation in a debutante ball when she was 19 years old that had a contentious history of what she deemed “racist, sexist and elitist.”
“I was not aware of the 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,” Kemper wrote on her Instagram on Monday that garnered more than 200,000 likes and prompted a social media storm
In 1999, Kemper was crowned the “Queen of Love and Beauty,” at the Veiled Prophet Ball, which was held by a Missouri-based organization founded in 1878 by former Confederate officers, CNN reported.
The actress and comedian best known for playing zany and lovable characters such as Erin Hannon in the long-running sitcom, “The Office” and most recently Kimmy Schmidt in the comedy, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” acknowledged in her post that “because of my race and my privilege, I am the beneficiary of a system that has dispensed unequal justice and unequal rewards.”
She continued. “I believe strongly in the values of kindness, integrity and inclusiveness I try to live my 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.”
The Veiled Prophet Organization sent out an apology.
“Upon reflection, the Veiled Prophet Organization acknowledges our past and recognizes the criticism levied our way. We sincerely apologize for the actions and images from our history. Additionally, our lack of cultural awareness was and is wrong. We are committed to change, allowing our actions to match the organization we are today.
The VP Organization of today categorically rejects racism, in any form. Today’s VP is committed to diversity and equity in our membership, community service initiatives and support for the region. Our hope is that moving forward, the community sees us for who we are today and together we can move this region forward for everyone.”
We are, and always will be committed to the success of the region and making St Louis a better place to live for all,” Fox 4 reported.
Kemper’s apology spoke volumes to her fans across social media.
“Thank you for taking the time to apologize, Ellie. And for realizing that though you didn’t know about the white supremacy origins of the organization, fans of yours —who are still affected by the myth of white supremacy to this day — needed to hear that you realize it was hurtful for us to learn about it all and that you are sorry that you took part,” wrote one person.
Support also came from her acting community.
On Tuesday, Tituss Burgess, Kemper’s co-star on “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” re-shared Kemper’s apology, which she posted to her own Instagram account on Monday, CNN reported.
Other celebrity supporters included Mindy Kaling, who responded with five heart emojis and Alec Baldwin, who wrote “You are understood and loved.”