ELLIE Kemper came under fire after fans discovered she had been crowned queen of a "racist" ball where members wore KKK-style hoods.
Pictures of a 19-year-old Kemper were splashed all over Twitter on May 31, showing The Office star being crowned Queen of a controversial St Louis' Veiled Prophet Ball in 1999.
What did Ellie Kemper say about the ‘KKK’ debutante ball?
A week after the controversial photos were leaked, Kemper responded to critics saying she was "not aware of this history at the time."
"When I was 19 years old, I decided to participate in a debutante ball in my hometown," Kemper's 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."
She continued: "I unequivocally deplore, denounce, and reject white supremacy. 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."
"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."
Kemper added: "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.
"I want to apologize to the people I've disappointed, and I promise that moving forward I will list, continue to educate myself, and use my privilege in support of the better society I think we are capable of becoming."
Will the Veiled Prophet Ball be canceled this year amid the backlash?
The Veiled Prophet Ball – which is typically held the week around July 4- has yet to be confirmed for this summer.
When asked if the ball would be happening and with only weeks left until Independence Day, a spokesperson for the event exclusively told The Sun: “We continue to monitor the Covid-19 situation in the United States and Missouri. The safety of our guests and staff is our greatest priority.
“We will make a decision regarding this event at a later date with guidance from local and national health professionals.”
On June 1, The Veiled Prophet Organization also defended their event amid the controversy.
The group told The Sun: "We absolutely reject racism and have never partnered or associated with any organization that harbors these beliefs."
The organization has dedicated itself to the "civic progress, economic contributions and charitable causes in St. Louis."
In their commitment to supporting St. Louis over the past 143 years, the Veiled Prophet Organization has annually hosted "dozens of community service projects" and donated "tens of thousands of dollars and service hours to support a variety of charity partners," which included Beyond Housing, Mission, St. Louis, Missouri Veterans Endeavor, North Side Community School, Promise Community Homes, Brightside St. Louis, and Forest Park Forever.
The statement from the VP organization continued: "Making many significant infrastructure and cultural gifts to the City, including lighting of the Eads Bridge, the Mississippi River Overlook and the mile-long Riverfront Promenade, and partnering in providing the Grand Staircase beneath the Arch as part of the National Park System and to the irrigation system as part of Forest Park Forever."
The America’s Birthday Parade and Fair St. Louis have reflected "the diversity of the St. Louis community" and included "a wide variety of partners," such as PrideFest and the Annie Malone Parade.
Did the Veiled Prophet Ball defend Ellie Kemper?
An employee also came forward to defend the actress – and the event.
An employee of what was formerly known as the Veiled Prophet Ball told The Sun: “It's 130, almost 140-year-old organization. And I don’t believe any organization that is 50 to 100 years old looks anything like it did originally.”
“We, the organization, back in the late 50s, early 60s made a concerted effort based on the premise that you cannot serve the community unless that entire community is represented in the organization.
"And so, I think the organization is reflective of the community and the makeup of the community,” the source explains.
The source noted Kemper's participation in the event in 1999 was decades after the organization's efforts reflected the accurate makeup of the St. Louis community, and added that she participated well beyond any potentially problematic point in its history.
The event’s name changed several times over the years, from Veiled Prophet Ball to the VP Parade to its current moniker, Fair St. Louis.
Source: Read Full Article