Ellie Kemper apologizes for participating in debutante ball with 'racist, sexist' past

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  john-russell  •  one week ago  •  22 comments

By:   Michael Ordona (MSN)

Ellie Kemper apologizes for participating in debutante ball with 'racist, sexist' past
Actor Ellie Kemper was called a 'KKK princess' for winning a debutante crown back in 1999. Now she has apologized after last week's online outcry.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



A week after resurfaced photos resulted in an online uproar accusing "The Office" and "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" star Ellie Kemper of being a "KKK princess," the actor has issued a detailed Instagram apology.

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"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 this history at the time, but ignorance is no excuse. I was old enough to have educated myself before getting involved," she wrote in a five-slide post Monday.

"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," she continued.


View this post on Instagram

"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. 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," Kemper added.

"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."

The brouhaha began when newspaper photos from 1999 emerged of Kemper being named Queen of Love and Beauty at the former Veiled Prophet Ball in her native St. Louis (the entire celebration was renamed Fair Saint Louis in 1992).

Because of longstanding charges of the Veiled Prophet group's racism and elitism, and because of a notorious image celebrating a "Veiled Prophet" figure extremely reminiscent of a Ku Klux Klansman, Twitter users were quick to brand Kemper a "KKK princess."

Thomas Spencer, a historian who wrote the book "The St. Louis Veiled Prophet Celebration: Power on Parade, 1877-1995," described the Veiled Prophet organization as a society of white St. Louis elites formed in the 1870s with an eye toward maintaining the social order they desired.

"The first parade has some pretty overt racial symbolism and intimidation," Spencer told The Times last week, specifying the first Veiled Prophet's strong resemblance to a Klansman, hood and all. "The VP was armed, and there was an executioner's block on the float, etc."

However, Spencer said he found no direct links to the Klan in his research and explained the organization, while "lily white" until 1979, had changed from being something like a "shadow government" until the 1950s to something "purely social."

Of the VP event at which Kemper won her crown, Spencer said, "It's a debutante ball that has existed for a long time ... The daughters are doing it because their dad wants them to do so, and it's a way to honor their father."

Whether the Twitterverse would accept Kemper's apology remained to be seen, but celebs such as Mindy Kaling, Wendi McLendon Covey, Rob Delaney and Katie Couric immediately responded with their support, sharing heart emojis on Kemper's Instagram. Within two hours, nearly 115,000 users had liked the post.

"You are understood and loved," commented Alec Baldwin.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.


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JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1  seeder  JohnRussell    one week ago

I know the Trump crowd will say she is "woke" she is a snowflake, and this and that to try and put her down, but it took guts to come forward and speak out about this group, and more so local traditions that provide the basis for generations of white privilege and white supremacy. 

I am not familiar with this actress but I might check out some of her work just to give her some props. 

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
2  Texan1211    one week ago

What I don't get is why some Twitter trolls or internet trolls decided some 21 years later that she needed to apologize for what she did---attend a ball.

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Guide
2.1  Sean Treacy  replied to  Texan1211 @2    one week ago
t I don't get is why some Twitter trolls or internet trolls decided some 21 years later that she needed to apologize for what she did---attend a bal

Because there's no intersection between reality and the left wing twitter mob that calls the shots for the MSM and the Democratic Party. 

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
2.1.1  Texan1211  replied to  Sean Treacy @2.1    one week ago

I just get so damn tired of all the faux-poutrage the left manages to exhibit daily.

Who gives a shit, really, about some party over 20 years ago?

If they were silent when the event occurred, to me that means you have lost your right to bitch at people because they did something you didn't like.

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Guide
2.1.2  Sean Treacy  replied to  Texan1211 @2.1.1    one week ago
Who gives a shit, really, about some party over 20 years ago?

Bitter, angry people who find joy in dragging down others. The same type of people who screamed for witches and heretics to be burned or who turned their neighbors over to the guillotine or secret police in authoritarian countries. Human nature doesn't change, just the tools available to attack others. 

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Guide
3  Sean Treacy    one week ago

I suppose she is a KKK princess. Just last year she gave money to an organization with historic ties to segregation and slavery.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
4  Vic Eldred    one week ago

Every day, 24/7 the left churns out outrage, anxiety and angst. Let's return to our happy days of good will.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
5  seeder  JohnRussell    one week ago

Don't be scared boys, everything will be all right. 

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
5.1  Texan1211  replied to  JohnRussell @5    one week ago
Don't be scared boys, everything will be all right. 

Sure, now that she has apologized for the actions taken some 20+ years ago by a 19-year-old woman, the yahoos will let her alone for a while at least.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Masters Expert
6  Greg Jones    one week ago

Don't be scared boys, everything will be all right. 

Yep....the radical socialists will lose their temporary numerical advantage

 
 
 
Tacos!
Professor Expert
7  Tacos!    one week ago
when I was 19 years old, I decided to participate in a debutante ball in my hometown

Wow, who cares? She was 19? This was 20+ years ago? It was a party? All she did was attend? You have to be awfully petty to make a big deal out of that.

an online uproar

I question this. Was it really an uproar? So many times we’re talking about a handful of blowhards on Twitter.

accusing "The Office" and "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" star Ellie Kemper of being a "KKK princess,"

That sounds like it’s probably grossly unfair. But then what does the holier-than-thou crowd care about being fair?

I was not aware of this history at the time, but ignorance is no excuse.

I don’t know. At 19, I think it might be a reasonable excuse. Especially if she wasn’t gathered round ye olde lynching tree, or burning cross, or something similarly obvious. Most young people just take part in social gatherings like this because they are casually pulled into it by the surrounding community, knowing little more than that it’s just what people do. You can’t expect all young people to do research into every social convention. If they do some such research, that’s great, but not everyone is so socially conscious at that age.

The bottom line should be: is Ellie Kemper a good person? Does she treat all people with respect and dignity? That’s what matters - not that she took part in some local social convention innocent of a problematic past associated with it.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
7.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Tacos! @7    one week ago

You guys really need to stop being scared of people willfully apologizing for past lack of understanding. 

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
7.1.1  Texan1211  replied to  JohnRussell @7.1    one week ago

No one is scared, JR. That is ridiculous to even think to claim it.

Sorry we don't go all ga-ga over "news" that is 20+ years old about some actress who is only in the headlines because of some left-wing nut jobs having a cow on Twitter and the internet.

 
 
 
Tacos!
Professor Expert
7.1.2  Tacos!  replied to  JohnRussell @7.1    one week ago

I didn’t say anything about her apology, nor am I scared of it. Try reading what I wrote and leave your bias at the door.

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Guide
7.1.3  Sean Treacy  replied to  JohnRussell @7.1    one week ago

stop being scared of people willfully apologizing for past lack of understanding.

Is that what you are calling a forced response to a public shaming? I guess some of us aren't self righteous and judgmental enough to appreciate attacking someone for attending a dance when they were 19. 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
7.1.4  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Sean Treacy @7.1.3    one week ago

you sound hysterical

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
7.1.5  Texan1211  replied to  JohnRussell @7.1.4    one week ago

Not at all.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
7.1.6  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Sean Treacy @7.1.3    one week ago

If I see something that indicates Ellie Kemper feels she was coerced into  to giving an apology I will give it consideration.  

I dont see that here. 

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Guide
7.1.7  Sean Treacy  replied to  JohnRussell @7.1.6    one week ago

Is it a coincidence she decided to apologize after the internet and MSM spent days  calling her a KKK princess and her career was threatened?  

 
 
 
Gazoo
Sophomore Silent
7.1.8  Gazoo  replied to  Sean Treacy @7.1.7    one week ago

I wonder what those who labeled her a kkk princess would label jussie smollett? probably a hero even though what smollett did was far far worse.

 
 
 
Tacos!
Professor Expert
7.1.9  Tacos!  replied to  JohnRussell @7.1.6    one week ago
If I see something that indicates Ellie Kemper feels she was coerced into  to giving an apology I will give it consideration.

You don’t think the following qualifies as coercion?

resurfaced photos resulted in an online uproar accusing "The Office" and "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" star Ellie Kemper of being a "KKK princess,"
 
 
 
Hallux
Freshman Principal
8  Hallux    one week ago

In the meantime conservatives in Canada have been having a 2 year "twitter cow" over Justin Trudeau having worn 'blackface' to a school costume party 20 years ago.

 
 
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