Is Ellie Kemper racist? Ball she attended in 1999 with rumored ties to KKK 'absolutely rejects racism'
An old photo of actress Ellie Kemper surfaced recently, confirming her attendance at the 1999 Veiled Prophet Ball in St Louis, Missouri, where she was reportedly crowned as the Queen as well. However, controversy peaked soon as some users suspected that the 143-year-old event had ties with the notorious white supremacist terrorist hate group the Ku Klux Klan. The speculations stemmed from an old illustration of the Veiled Prophet Ball that featured a fictitious character. The character wore a robe and elongated hat - an attire similar to the KKK-style garb.
While the 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' actress has not addressed the controversy, the organizers of the Veiled Prophet Ball, presently christened as Fair St Louis, have clarified their stance on racism and rejected past connections to the KKK. "We absolutely reject racism and have never partnered or associated with any organization that harbors these beliefs," the organization told The Sun. They added that the organization has always worked for "civic progress, economic contributions and charitable causes in St Louis."
Veiled Prophet Ball 'rejects' racism claims
Speaking to The Sun, the Veiled Prophet Organization offered an elaborate dive into their history of over a century, claiming that they have hosted several community service projects and donated "tens of thousands of dollars and service hours to support a variety of charity partners".
"Making many significant infrastructure and cultural gifts to the City, including lighting of the Eads Bridge, the Mississippi River Overlook and the mile-long Riverfront Promenade, and partnering in providing the Grand Staircase beneath the Arch as part of the National Park System and to the irrigation system as part of Forest Park Forever," the organization stated.
An unnamed employee of the organization defended the actress and the event, saying, "We, the organization, back in the late 50s, early 60s made a concerted effort based on the premise that you cannot serve the community unless that entire community is represented in the organization. And so I think the organization is reflective of the community and the makeup of the community."
They further added, "It's 130, almost 140-year-old organization. And I don’t believe any organization that is 50 to 100 years old looks anything like it did originally. This is an organization whose members are St Louis families, who have been in business in St Louis for many years. Since its founding, the organization was created to do something positive, and help make St Louis a better place to live.”
The moniker of the event has also been changed over time, from Veiled Prophet Ball to VP Parade to the present Fair St Louis.
At the age of 19, Ellie Kemper attended the ball and was crowned the 'Queen of Love and Beauty' among the other attendees, most of whom hailed from an elite background.
"The parade and all its pomp was meant to reinforce the values of the elite on the working class of the city," however there is no evidence of a direct link to the KKK," clarified historian Thomas Spencer.