‘The Office’ Alums React to Ellie Kemper’s Response to Participating in the Debutante Ball

Ellie Kemper came under fire last week after someone on Twitter shared that she’d participated in the Veiled Prophet Ball in her teens. The debutante ball, which has a problematic and racist history and roots in White supremacy, was founded by a former Confederate officer. Furthermore, until the late 1970s, Black and Jewish people were banned from participating in the organization and the ball. Naturally, many fans of The Office alum were disappointed to see that Kemper had once been crowned Queen of the ball and were eagerly anticipating her response.

Ellie Kemper as Erin Hannon smiles in response to a sweet card while filming an episode of The Office
Ellie Kemper | Tyler Golden/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

It didn’t take too long before Kemper became a news story thanks to her participation in the debutante ball. She began trending on Twitter with some critics even dubbing the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt actor a “KKK Princess.” Fans, on the other hand, were more than willing to give Kemper the benefit of the doubt. However, they urged her to make a statement acknowledging her participation in the problematic ball and rejecting the White Supremacist roots of the organization that threw the ball. Kemper chose to take a few days before she released a public response. However, on June 7, 2021, the actor shared a statement via her Instagram page.

Ellie Kemper released a statement in response to her participation in the Veiled Prophet Ball

“Hi guys – when I was 19 years old, I decided to participate in a debutante ball in my hometown,” Kemper began in her statement. “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 it is no excuse. I was old enough to have educated myself before getting involved.”

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Continuing on, the comedian went on to reject White supremacy and acknowledge some of the privileges that she’s benefitted from. “I unequivocally deplore, denounce, and reject White supremacy,” she said. “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.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. But at 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.”

The ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ actor apologizes to fans on Instagram

Finally, Kemper shared her values and offered an apology. “I believe strongly in the values of kindness, integrity, and inclusiveness,” she shared in response to her participation in the ball. “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. 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. Thanks for reading this.”

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Two alums of ‘The Office’ show their support for Kemper

Thus far, Kemper has received a lot of positive feedback for her statement from fans. But fans aren’t the only ones showing support. Two of Kemper’s former castmates from The Office have also shown their support as well. Mindy Kaling, who wrote for the show in addition to playing Kelly Kapoor, commented four hearts in the comments of Kemper’s post. Meanwhile, Angela Kinsey, who portrayed Angela Martin on the show, also left a heart in response to Kemper’s statement. Clearly, Kemper has the support of some of her fellow coworkers. It’ll be interesting to see if any more of her peers chime in on her statement.