After a week of silence, Ellie Kemper is finally speaking out about some very controversial images that resurfaced on Memorial Day. In 1999, the actor, best known for her Netflix series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, was crowned Queen of the Veiled Prophet Ball, a debutante ball held by St. Louis’s Veiled Prophet Organization, a group with a disturbing past and a strong connection to white supremacy.
The actor, who was a Princeton University freshman at the time, posted an apology to Instagram on Monday, June 7. “When I was 19 years old, I decided to participate in a debutante ball in my hometown,” her post began. “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.”
In the second slide of the post, Kemper said, “I unequivocally deplore, denounce, and reject white supremacy,” adding that she is still a “beneficiary of a system that has dispensed unequal justice and unequal rewards.”
She 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 at 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 of kindness, integrity, and inclusiveness. I try to live my life in accordance with these values,” she wrote in the third slide. “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.”
Ellie Kemper then concluded her post, writing, “I want to apologize 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 are capable of becoming.”
Originally Appeared on Glamour