AceShowbiz - Ellie Kemper has issued an apology for her past participation in a "racist" debutante ball. Having found herself landing in hot water for attending the Veiled Prophet Ball in 1999, the "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" actress vows to educate herself more on racism.
The 41-year-old offered her explanation via Instagram on Monday, June 7. "Hi guys - 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 the history at the time, but ignorance is no excuse. I was old enough to have educated myself before getting involved," she began.
"I unequivocally deplore, denounce, and reject white supremacy," the wife of Michael Koman further emphasized. "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," she went on. "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."
Noting that she believes strongly "in the values of kindness, integrity and inclusiveness," "The Office" alum added, "I try to live my life in accordance with these values." She then concluded her post, "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. Thanks for reading this."
Shortly after Ellie shared her message, the Veiled Prophet Organization said in a statement to Fox News, "Upon reflection, the Veiled Prophet Organization acknowledges our past and recognizes the criticism levied our way. We sincerely apologize for the actions and images from our history." The statement continued, "Additionally, our lack of cultural awareness was and is wrong. We are committed to change, allowing our actions to match the organization we are today."
The organization also noted that it "categorically rejects racism in any form." It added, "[We are] committed to diversity and equity in our membership, community service initiatives and support for the region."
Ellie was crowned the "Queen of Love and Beauty" title when participating in the 1999 Veiled Prophet Ball, which is now called the Fair Saint Louis. At that time, she was 19 years old. As for the organization, it was established in the late 1800s by former Confederate officer Charles Slayback and other prominent white St. Louisans, who finally allowed black people to participate in 1979.