After her participation in a St. Louis debutante ball that's has its foundations in early 20th Century racism and anti-Semitism came to light on social media, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt star Ellie Kemper has taken to social media to address the matter. In an Instagram post that went live earlier today, the actress wrote that she was not aware of the event's history but did not use that t justify it- stating that "ignorance is no excuse." During her freshmen year at Princeton University in 1999, Kemper was a contestant in the Veiled Prophet Ball and would go on to be crowned the "Queen of Love and Beauty." Except here's the huge problem, Founded in 1878, the ball barred Black and Jewish Americans from participating- with the organization behind it having been partly created in "response to growing labor unrest in the city, much of it involving cooperation between white and Black workers."
"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,' Kemper writes in her post. "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 sent my life supporting and agreeing with."
The actress continued, "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 believes 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 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." Here's a look at Kemper's post from earlier today:
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