Ellie Kemper Just Responded To Those Resurfaced Photos Of Her Participating In A "Racist And Elitist" Ball
"I want to apologize to the people I've disappointed."
Last week, Ellie Kemper found herself at the center of controversy after old photos resurfaced of the actor participating in a beauty pageant that has racist and antisemitic origins.
In 1999, a 19-year-old Kemper was crowned the "Veiled Prophet Queen of Love and Beauty" in St. Louis. The Veiled Prophet association was founded by a former Confederate officer, and Black and Jewish people were banned from the organization until the late 1970s.
The photos of Kemper in a white dress, as well as images of the hooded "Veiled Prophet," quickly led to KKK comparisons on Twitter, with some dubbing Kemper a "KKK princess."
And now, in a statement posted to her Instagram this afternoon, Kemper has addressed the controversy and apologized for participating in the ball.
"When I was 19 years old, I decided to participate in a debutante ball in my hometown," Kemper wrote to her followers. "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 statement 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."
Kemper went on to explain how, when the controversy first began last week, she was tempted to ignore the critics:
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.