Actress Ellie Kemper has broken her silence on the recent allegations of her participation in a St. Louis debutante ball that’s believed to have a history of racism.
The star took to Instagram to write that “ignorance is no excuse” for her participation in the 1999 Veiled Prophet Ball, in which she was crowned the winner.
Have a read of her statement below:
The century-old organisation 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 or a system that has dispensed unequal justice and unequal rewards. There is a very natural temptation when you come the subject of internet criticism, to tell yourself that your detractors are getting it all wrong. But at some point last week, I realised that a lot of the forces behind the criticism are forces that I’ve sent my life supporting and agreeing with.
I believe strongly in the values of kindness, integrity, and inclusiveness. I try to live my life in accordance with these value. If my experience is an indication that organisations and institutions with pasts that fall short of these believes should be held to account, then I have to see this experience in a positive light.
I want to apologise to the people I’ve disappointed, and I promise that moving forward I will listen, continue to educate myself, and use my privilege in support of the better society I think we’re capable of becoming.
Thanks for reading this.
Peep the Instagram post here:
Last week, fans dug up an article by The Atlantic from 2014 that reveals Ellie Kemper entered and won the Veiled Prophet Ball when she was 19.
She copped a heap of backlash on social media as the club itself allegedly has a history of racism as Black members were not allowed to join the organisation until 1979.
According to the article, it was founded by “wealthy white elites” back in 1877 and “emphasised the existing power structure.”
There’s even a photo appearing to show Ellie Kemper, who has starred in The Office and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, being crowned at the event. The “Veiled Prophet Ball” is still held every year.