Ellie Kemper apologises for taking part in "unquestionably racist" ball
Ellie Kemper said that she was not aware of the history at the time.
Ellie Kemper has spoken out about her involvement in a controversial beauty pageant, after dealing with major backlash last week.
The Office actress took part in a debutante ball, the Veiled Prophet Ball, in 1999 in her hometown of Missouri and suffered at the hands of the internet when pictures were uncovered of her being crowned "Queen of Love and Beauty".
The ball was founded in the late 19th century by former Confederate officer Charles Slayback and other prominent white people from St Louis but the name has since been changed to Fair Saint Louis.
Up until 1979, only white people were allowed to partake in it which is where Ellie found herself in the middle of this controversy.
Ellie spoke out about the situation, releasing a statement on her Instagram on Monday, saying "ignorance is no excuse."
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She wrote: "Hi guys, when I was 19 years old, I decided to participate in a debutante ball in my hometown," she began. "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."
"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."
The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt star also broke her silence on the backlash she had gotten over the week, and the comments she had received.
She said: "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."
The Veiled Prophet Organization has since denounced racism, telling People Magazine that they "absolutely reject racism and have never partnered or associated with any organization that harbors these beliefs."