Ellie Kemper found herself back in the news earlier this week when an odd and rather questionable moment from her past was unearthed.
As it turns out, when the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was a teenager, she took part in a debutante ball called the Veiled Prophet Ball in her native Missouri. The pageant-like affair was hosted by a group known as the Veiled Prophet Organization, and ！ according to resurfaced photos ！ Kemper was crowned the “Queen of Love and Beauty” during the event.
While the St. Louis-based organization has since changed its name to Fair Saint Louis, it was founded in the late 1800s by Charles Slayback, a former soldier for the Confederacy, and a number of other white men. One of its rules for the ball? Only white people were allowed to participate. All the way up until 1979.
Kemper took to her personal social media to address the backlash her participation in the ball has stirred up. “Hi guys,” she wrote to her followers. “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,” the actor 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…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.”
Kemper s candid post earned comments of support from numerous former co-stars and celeb pals, from Mindy Kaling and Angela Kinsey to Wendy McLendon-Covey and Katie Couric.
Read the actress full apology below.