Ellie Kemper, star of the show “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” is getting support from co-star Tituss Burgess amid the backlash she’s facing for having attended as a teen a debutante ball of Confederate origins.
Kemper attended the 1999 Veiled Prophet Ball as a 19-year-old St. Louis resident. The event is by the Veiled Prophet Organization, founded by a former Confederate officer in 1878.
Recent social media posts with pictures and criticism about Kemper having attended the event and being crowned “Queen of Love and Beauty,” led her on Monday to an online apology.
“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,” the 41-year-old Kemper posted on Instagram. “I was old enough to have educated myself before getting involved.”
Former co-star Tituss Burgess, who is black, re-shared the post on his Instagram account with a caption, “I love my Ellie. Oh, & P.S. Next time, just ask me, I’ll tell ya what to do.”
Veiled Prophet Organization has pushed back against the criticism.
The group has released a statement that reads: “Our organization believes in and promotes inclusion, diversity and equality for this region. We absolutely reject racism and have never partnered or associated with any organization that harbors these beliefs.”