Owning up to her mistake. Ellie Kemper has publicly apologized for participating in an event, back in 1999, hosted by The Veiled Prophet Organization — a St. Louis organization with a controversial history.
The 41-year-old's mea culpa came after she faced backlash in May when a St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper clipping announcing Kemper as the new "Queen of Love and Beauty" at the Veiled Prophet Ball began to circulate online. The Veiled Prophet Organization reportedly barred Black members — and only allowed white members — until 1979.
"Hi guys – when I was 19 years old, I decided to participate in a debutante ball in my hometown. The century-old organization that hosted the debutante ball had an unquestionably racist, sexist and elitist past," Kemper wrote in a statement posted on Instagram on Monday, June 7. "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. 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 Office alum 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 beliefs should be held to account, then I have to see this in a positive light," she wrote.
Kemper added: "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."
For their part, The Veiled Prophet Organization told USA Today in a statement their organization "believes in and promotes inclusion, diversity and equality for this region," adding, "We absolutely reject racism and have never partnered or associated with any organization that harbors these beliefs."