A newspaper article unearthed Monday revealed the then-19 year old was crowned as the "Veiled Prophet Queen" in St. Louis.
41 year-old actress Ellie Kemper, known for her role in the sitcom The Office and and a lead role in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, found herself in Twitter trouble this Memorial Day for her alleged involvement in a historically racist ball and beauty pageant. Pictures that have circulated twitter include an article written about the event with the headline: "Freshman, 19, at Princeton U. is now Veiled Prophet queen," where she was named the "Queen of Love and Beauty."
The "Veiled Prophet Ball" is a St. Louis ball with reported generational ties to white supremacy groups like the KKK, and are self-described as "meant to reinforce the values of the elite on the working class of the city." The tradition was established in 1878 by a Confederate cavalryman and has continued to exist as a secret and exclusive society. Pictures from the events show participants in exaggerated robes and cloaks.
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As the news was breaking, Kemper received a wide range of reactions from fans and Twitter users. Many were shocked that the actress would participate in such an event considering her bubbly and gracious personality on and off screen. Others were more critical, dubbing her the "KKK Princess" while comparing how rich white family's across the nation are able to reinforce racism and power through such ceremonies.
Fans of the actress, however, were quick to bring up her lead role in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which saw Kemper playing a woman escaping the racist indoctrination of her past. One fan writes: "It really is something that Ellie Kemper was the star of a tv show about a woman who leaves a racist cult and tries to rebrand herself while pretending it never happened."
Though there has been no response from Kemper yet, the internet is full of details and commentary sure to hold you down until this history is addressed.
Check out some of the reactions below.