, the actress, apologized on Instagram
on Monday for attending a debutante ball for a St. Louis
organization that has long been accused of racism
Last week, it was revealed that the former "Office" cast member was crowned Queen of Love and Beauty at the secretive Veiled Prophet
Ball in 1999, which was founded more than 140 years ago for the city's white business
elite to gather in a show of economic and racial power.
Kemper did not respond to the outpouring of grief
until Monday, when she issued a five-part apology
Ellie Kemper (@elliekemper) shared this post on Instagram.
The full statement follows:
Hello everyone, when I was 19 years old, I decided to attend a debutante ball in my hometown. The century-old organization that hosted the debutante ball had an undeniably racist
, sexist, and elitist history, which I was unaware of at the time, but ignorance is no excuse; I was old enough to have educated myself before getting involved.
I unequivocally condemn, denounce, and reject white supremacy
, while also acknowledging that I am the beneficiary of a system that has delivered unequal justice and unequal rewards due to my race and privilege.
When you become the target of internet criticism, it's natural to tell yourself that your critics are completely wrong; however, I realized last week that many of the forces driving
the criticism are forces with which I've spent my entire life supporting and agreeing.
I strongly believe in the values of kindness
, integrity, and inclusiveness, and I try to live my life accordingly. If my experience is an indication that organizations and institutions with histories that fall short of these beliefs should be held accountable, then I must view this experience positively.
I want to apologize to those I have disappointed, and I promise that moving
forward, I will listen, continue to educate myself, and use my privilege to support the better society I believe we are capable of becoming.