The 41-year-old actress took to Instagram on Monday to issue a statement apologizing after she faced backlash over photos that were discovered during Memorial Day weekend that showed her participating in a 1999 event known in St. Louis as the “Veiled Prophet Ball.” 当時の, Kemper, then a 19-year-old college student, was crowned the “Queen of Love and Beauty” at the controversial event, which many believe has its roots in racism. The organization swiftly issued a statement denouncing racism after the photos went viral.
月曜日に, shortly after Kemper issued her statement, Burgess re-shared the post on his own Instagram along with a caption praising his former co-star.
“I love my Ellie,” 彼が書きました. “ああ, & P.S. Next time, just ask me, I’ll tell ya what to do.”
Kemper responded to the post writing: “I love you Tituss.”
Kemper opened her initial apology statement by noting that she believes the organization does have a problematic past but noted that she was unaware of it at 19.
“Hi guys – when I was 19 年, I decided to participate in a debutante ball in my hometown,” the actress wrote. “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, but ignorance is no excuse. I was old enough to have educated myself before getting involved.”
“I unequivocally deplore, denounce, and reject white supremacy,” the actress continued. “同時に, 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 star went on to explain that, although she was the butt of criticism over her participation, she believes that the people holding her accountable are the people she would support and agree with in any other context.
“I believe strongly in the values of kindness, integrity, and inclusiveness,” she shared. “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 experience in a positive light.”
While the pageant only allowed White participants when it was founded in 1878, banning Blacks and Jewish Americans, it welcomed its first Black members に 1979, a full 20 years before Kemper’s participation at age 19, and a year before she was born. 加えて, despite claims to the contrary, the pageant doesn’t seem to have any tangible ties to the Ku Klux Klan. しかしながら, that didn’t stop “KKK Princess” from trending on Twitter amid backlash to “The Office” star’s involvement.
“Upon reflection, the Veiled Prophet Organization acknowledges our past and recognizes the criticism levied our way. We sincerely apologize for the actions and images from our history,” the organization told Fox News in a statement 月曜. “さらに, our lack of cultural awareness was and is wrong. We are committed to change, allowing our actions to match the organization we are today.”
さらに, the organization “categorically rejects racism in any form” and is now “committed to diversity and equity in our membership, community service initiatives and support for the region,” according to their statement.
Fox News’ Melissa Roberto and Nate Day contributed to this report.