Tituss Burgess responds to co-star Ellie Kemper’s apology over ‘racist’ ball
'The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' star showed his support for his embattled castmate in a social media post
Tituss Burgess is issuing a response after his Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt co-star, Ellie Kemper, recently came under fire for attending a Missouri ball with a racist past.
Last week, Kemper, the star of the Netflix comedy, found herself in the crosshairs of public outrage after photos resurfaced of her being crowned the ‘Queen of Love and Beauty’ at the Veiled Prophet Ball (now called the Fair Saint Louis) back in 1999.
According to PEOPLE, “The Veiled Prophet Organization was originally co-founded in the late 1800s by former Confederate officer Charles Slayback and other prominent white St. Louisans, who only permitted white people to participate up until 1979.”
Not surprisingly, Kemper’s participation with an organization with such blatantly racist origins didn’t sit well with her fans, and Monday the actress took to social media to address the controversy head-on.
Burgess wasted no time reposting her statement to his own social media page along with the message, “I love my Ellie.”
“Oh, & P.S. Next time, just ask me, I’ll tell ya what to do,” he noted, to which his co-star replied in his comments section, “I love you Tituss,” accompanied by three heart emojis.
“Hi guys, when I was 19 years old, I decided to participate in a debutante ball in my hometown,” began Kemper’s Instagram post.
“The century-old organization that hosted the debutante ball had an unquestionably racist, sexist and elitist past. I was not aware of the history at the time, but ignorance is no excuse,” The Office alum continued. “I was old enough to have educated myself before getting involved.”
“I unequivocally deplore, denounce, and reject white supremacy,” she clarified. “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,” she said of the backlash.
Kemper then ended her own statement with an apology, “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.”
Veiled Prophet also chimed in with a response to the public outcry in which they made assurances that they’d learned from past mistakes and no longer tolerated racism in their organization.
“Upon reflection, the Veiled Prophet Organization acknowledges our past and recognizes the criticism levied our way,” read their official statement obtained by PEOPLE. “We sincerely apologize for the actions and images from our history. Additionally, our lack of cultural awareness was and is wrong. We are committed to change, allowing our actions to match the organization we are today.”
“The VP Organization of today categorically rejects racism, in any form,” they went on to explain. “Today’s VP is committed to diversity and equity in our membership, community service initiatives and support for the region,” they continued. “Our hope is that moving forward, the community sees us for who we are today and together we can move this region forward for everyone. We are, and always will be committed to the success of the region and making St Louis a better place to live for all.“
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