Ellie Kemper Apologizes for Participating in Debutante Ball With "Racist, Sexist" Past | THR News

The actress has apologized over participating in the St. Louis ball, acknowledging that while she wasn't aware of the Veiled Prophet Organization's past, she has sided with her critics.

Video Transcript

TIFFANY TAYLOR: Ellie Kemper is addressing the viral Twitter controversy that linked the actress with a St. Louis debutante ball run by the Veil Prophet organization, which was created in 1878 and has a racist past. The "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" star shared a series of slides on Instagram, which read in part, "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'm the beneficiary of a system that has dispensed unequal justice and unequal rewards." She ended the series of posts by saying, "I want to apologize to the people I've disappointed, and I promised that moving forward I will listen, continue to educate myself, and use my privilege in support of the better of society I think we're capable of becoming."

The controversy started May 31 when a Twitter user with the handle WB_Baskerville posted, "Every once in a while I remember that the Veiled Prophet Ball exists and that everything "True Detective" season one was about is real. Another user chimed in saying the ball is "A fancy event put on by our local KKK, of which Ellie Kemper was once the Queen of Love and Beauty." While the organization doesn't have any known ties to the Ku Klux Klan, the veiled prophet does have a racist and classist past. By midday on May 31, Kemper had become a trending topic on Twitter. For more on this story, go to thr.com. For the Hollywood Reporter News, I'm Tiffany Taylor.