Actress Ellie Kemper is widely condemned on Twitter for attending a debutante ball years ago linked to an organization accused of racism.
Kemper, known for her iconic roles in Netflix’s “The Office” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”, faces backlash after old photos surfaced over Memorial Day weekend showing the star attending an event of 1999 known in St. Louis as the “Veiled Prophet’s Ball.” At the time, the then 19-year-old student Kemper was crowned “Queen of Love and Beauty” at the event, a title that was awarded to more than 100 attendees.
According to Organization of the Veiled Propheton the website, the winners hold the title for one year.
The initial imagery of organizing a “veiled prophet” has been widely examined. Atlantic reported in 2014 that he portrayed a similar appearance to a Klansman. however, Rolling stone notes that the ball predates the Ku Klux Klan by decades.
Representatives for Kemper did not respond to multiple requests for comment from Fox News. In a statement to Fox News on Tuesday, the Veiled Prophet (VP) organization spoke out against racism.
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“The VP organization is dedicated to civic advancement, economic contributions and charitable causes in St. Louis. Our organization believes in and promotes inclusion, diversity and equity for the entire region. We absolutely reject racism and do not we are never associated with any organization that harbors these beliefs, ”the statement said.
The organization’s vice president also confirmed to Fox News that Kemper was crowned Queen of Love and Beauty in 1999.
While the contest only allowed white entrants when it was founded in 1878, banning blacks and American Jews, it welcomed its first black members. in 1979, 20 years before Kemper’s participation at the age of 19 and one year before his birth.
Thomas Spencer, professor at Texas A&M University-Kingsville has written a book on the subject entitled “The St. Louis Veiled Prophet Celebration: Power on Parade, 1877-1995”. In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, Spencer claimed that the ball Kemper attended was a debutante ball, but spoke about her history of racist claims.
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“The first parade has pretty overt racial symbolism and intimidation. The vice president was armed, and there was an executioner block on the float, etc.,” Spencer said at the outlet.
Spencer goes on to say that the VP organization was “almost shut down” in the 1970s due to protests. The author added that despite the allegations, there was no evidence of a link between the organization and the KKK.
Still, “KKK Princess” was all the rage on Twitter earlier this week, with Twitter users claiming the “Bridesmaids” actress should be canceled.
“Ellie Kemper grew up in a wealthy family outside of an elite society. She was attending Princeton University when she crowned Princess KKK at age 19. I’m 100% sure she was okay. familiar with the history of the Veiled Prophet Ball, ” a user wrote.
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In another tweet, the user added: “I know for a fact that her parents have been grooming her to be the KKK Princess of their secret society for years.”
A person added: “I mean ….. ellie Kemper was apparently crowned in a legit kkk beauty pageant so …. people obviously change so that doesn’t mean she’s a terrible person * now * but …. could benefit from offering some sort of explanation of what has changed since then. “
Another claimed Kemper, who was born in Kansas City, comes from “one of the wealthiest families in the state.” It’s a Kemper. It’s like Missouri royalty, ”the person said.
As it became a trending topic quite quickly on the social media platform, several denounced Twitter for letting false rumors spread about the star.
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“Your tweet embodies what’s bad about Twitter. People tweet with ‘100% sure’ about the inner motivations of people they’ve never met,” he added. wrote.
An user added: “You mean the organization that diversified even before it was born? The one that, even today, gives big sums to the community and organizes a free party on July 4th? You should be ashamed …”
Twitter representatives did not immediately return Fox News’ request for comment.
Fox News’ Cortney O’Brien contributed to this report.