Actress Ellie Kemper apologized Tuesday after photos of her involved in a St. Louis debutante ball with alleged “racist, sexist and elitist” origins.
Kemper shared her apology in a statement posted on her Instagram.
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“The century-old organization that hosted the debutante ball had an unquestionably racist, sexist, and elitist past,” Kemper wrote in the statement. “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.” (RELATED: Two White Guys At Politico Accuse Biden Of White Privilege)
“I unequivocally deplore, denounce, and reject white supremacy,” she continued. “At the same time, I acknowledge that because of my race and my privilege, I am the beneficiary of a system that dispensed unequal justice and unequal rewards.”
Kemper went on to apologize to the people she “disappointed.”
“I want to apologize to the people I 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 wrote.
The “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” star was 19 years old when she participated in the Veiled Prophet Ball. She was crowned the Queen of Love and Beauty on Dec. 24, 1999, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The Veiled Prophet Ball was created in response to “growing labor unrest” in St. Louis, according to The Atlantic. The organization did not allow African Americans or Jewish Americans to participate until 1979. The organization reportedly changed its name in 1992 to the Fair Saint Louis.