After Ellie Kemper has apologized for her participation in a controversial debutante ball in 1999, her Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt co-star Titus Burgess was there to support her. Burgess used his Instagram account to repost Kemper's full apology, writing, "I love my Ellie, Oh, & P.S. Next time, just ask me, I'll tell ya what to do." Kemper commented, "I love you Tituss."
Earlier this month, photos of Kemper being crowned the Queen of Love and Beauty at the Veiled Prophet Ball in St. Louis, Missouri, went viral, and the actress responded to the criticism she received as a result in a message on Monday, June 7. "The century-old organization that hosted the debutante ball had an unquestionably racist, sexist and elitist past," Kemper wrote. "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." The Veiled Prophet Organization was founded in St. Louis in the 1800s and has a history of alleged racism.
View this post on Instagram
Kemper, who comes from a wealthy and prominent Missouri family, explained that "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." Ultimately, she realized that "a lot of the forces behind the criticism are forces that I've spent my life supporting and agreeing with." She wrote that she believes "strongly" in the values of kindness, integrity and inclusiveness and tries to live "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," the actress concluded before apologizing "to the people I've disappointed" and promising that moving forward she will "listen, continue to educate myself, and use my privilege in support of the better society I think we're capable of becoming."
In a statement to USA Today, the Veiled Prophet Organization denied any racism and said that it is "dedicated to civic progress, economic contributions and charitable causes in St. Louis." "Our organization believes in and promotes inclusion, diversity, and equality for this region," the statement continued. "We absolutely reject racism and have never partnered or associated with any organization that harbors these beliefs."