After it was revealed that she was crowned queen of the ball in 1999, Kemper was called the "KKK Queen" by the internet due to the ball's racist history.
After a long week of being criticized online for allegedly being tied to a racist organization, Ellie Kemper has finally surfaced with a statement. The beloved Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and The Office star was confronted with controversy after newspaper clippings showing her being crowned as the Veiled Prophet Ball queen surfaced online. The St. Louis ball has a longstanding racist history dating back to 1878. The Atlantic reports that the Veiled Prophet Ball was launched by White elites in the city who were upset with racial tensions and labor disputes.
There have been thousands of St. Louis residents who took to social media to share that the city is fully aware of the ball and its reported racist ties to the Ku Klux Klan, and after being dragged for her association with the event, Kemper has come forward with an apology and explanation.
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"When I was 19 years old, I decided to participate in a debutante ball in my hometown," Kemper wrote. "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," she continued. "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 added that it can be easy for people on the receiving end of "internet criticism" to believe that "your detractors are getting it all wrong." However, in this instance, she agreed with people who called her out.
"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're capable of becoming." Check out Kemper's message in full below.