'The Office' Actress Ellie Kemper Apologizes for Attending a Ball, Acknowledges Her White Privilege

Another one bites the apology.

If you’re a fan of Kira Davis as am I, you already know of the controversy concerning actress Ellie Kemper.

The star of The Office and Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, it was recently learned, once attended a dance.


At the time, she was a Princeton University freshman.

And as it turns out, the “Veiled Prophet Ball” back in her native St. Louis, Missouri was a fancy function of dastardly descent.

The Atlantic’s initial description of the event sounds harmless:

Held annually every Fourth of July, usually in downtown St. Louis, Fair St. Louis is a festival that includes food, music, hot-air balloons, and fireworks. Touted as “America’s Biggest Birthday Party”, it’s basically just a fun excuse to enjoy the usually hot and humid St. Louis Fourth of Julys with friends and family. This summer, due to construction along the Mississippi riverfront, the fair was held in Forest Park, a jewel of a turn-of-the-century public park built for the 1904 World’s Fair.]

But enter the dragon. From Kira’s coverage:

[T]hey were historically exclusive to elite white folks. According to Newsweek, African Americans were eventually allowed to join in 1979 after protest…

Hence, Ellie — who was crowned the ball’s 1999 Queen of Love in beauty — was reconfigured as a racist.

On social media, “KKK Princess” appeared:

Apparently, in response, she made a donation:


But for those wanting a mea culpa, she’s finally here with the requisite goods.

On Monday, the actress posted an apology via Instagram.

Bottom line: There’s “no excuse” for what she did.

She came out punching — the dance:

“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.”

“I was not aware of this history at the time,” she said. “But ignorance is no excuse. I was old enough to have educated myself before getting involved.”

For those of you suspecting she’s a white supremacist, allow her to allay your fears:

“I unequivocally deplore, denounce, and reject white supremacy.”

But don’t get it twisted — she’s white, and she’s privileged:

“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.”


Our system certainly has done unjust things. Among America’s history are unchivalrous deeds.

On the privilege front, here’s The Atlantic with more history:

A person would be chosen by a secret board of local elites to anonymously play the role of the Veiled Prophet. The Veiled Prophet would chose a Queen of Love and Beauty from among the elite ball attendees (of course, invitation list to be kept strictly confidential as well) with whom he would dance a “Royal Quadrille” before presenting her with an expensive keepsake such as a tiara or pearls. Often these gifts were so expensive that they became family heirlooms.

Back to shame, the way Ellie sees it, organizations with such a past should be put to the fire, feet first:

“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.”

She assured readers she believes “strongly in the values of kindness, integrity, and inclusiveness.”

And she tries to “live [her] life in accordance with these values.”

She’s sorry, and she wants to eliminate her ignorance:

“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.”


Will she be forgiven?

That remains to be seen.

She’s certainly taken heat.

One tweeter slammed “anyone saying a Princeton [19-year-old] is too clueless to notice that everyone at this ball is white (Oh, excuse me, one black woman — the first-ever 2 years before her).”

“At 17 in 1988,” they recalled, “I was hip enough to figure out the fraternity and sorority systems were racist as heck. Didn’t rush!”

From another user:

“Her husband is Jewish! I wonder if he knew about her past before today?”

As far as apologies go, Ellie failed to reach the nearly unsurmountable heights of Bachelor host Chris Harrison.

I wrote recently, “That guy bakes a mea culpa like a cake.”

At first, the actress admitted, she hesitated to come out with hat in hand:

“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.”


“[A]t 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.”


Well, that doesn’t mean they were right — if she’s not a KKK Princess.

Kira put the whole thing another way:

I actually had to read the story multiple times to figure out what…was going on. As it turns out, it’s not me who is too dumb to get it.



See more pieces from me:

School Demands Apology From Graduate Over Mexican Flag Cape, Appears to Cave After Threats of Violence

Nonbinary Flight Attendant Fights Dress Code via ACLU, Decries ‘Constant Misgendering,’ Exacerbating ‘Depression’

Ron DeSantis Makes a Promise About Critical Race Theory — AKA ‘a Bunch of Horse Manure’

Find all my RedState work here.

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