Ellie Kemper, the actress best known for her roles as Erin on “The Office” and Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix’s “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” found herself at the heart of controversy when old photos of her winning the Veiled Prophet Ball surfaced Memorial Day weekend.
Now, the actress has apologized in a lengthy Instagram post, denouncing white supremacy and saying she was old enough to educate herself at the time and failed to do so.
“I was not aware of this history at the time, but ignorance is no excuse,” Kemper wrote. “I was old enough to have educated myself before getting involved. … I want to apologize to the people I’ve disappointed, and I promise that moving forward I will listen, continue to educated myself, and use my privilege in support of the better society I think we’re capable of becoming.”
The Veiled Prophet Ball was held every December in St. Louis, MO. Debutantes are walked in by prominent businessmen from the St. Louis area and the event has taken place since 1878. It’s no longer called that name – instead it’s become Fair St. Louis, the traditional festival leading up to the city’s Fourth of July celebration.
Black and Jewish people have been historically excluded from the ball and during the Civil Rights movement, many picketed the event in protest.
Kemper participated at the age of 19 and when photos surfaced of her at the event, it caused backlash on social media, prompting the apology from the actress.
“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,” Kemper said.