Kemper apologizes for role with group that had racist past

Actress Ellie Kemper has apologized for participating in a debutante ball hosted by a St_ Louis organization that she now says had “an unquestionably racist, sexist and elitist past.”

ST. LOUIS -- Actress Ellie Kemper has apologized for participating in a debutante ball hosted by a St. Louis organization that she now says had “an unquestionably racist, sexist and elitist past.”

The Veiled Prophet Organization dates to the late 1800s. It didn’t allow Black members until 1979. Daughters of many prominent St. Louis families have held the same title as Kemper, whose family founded Commerce Bancshares.

Kemper, who rose to fame on TV's “The Office,” said on Instagram that she was unaware at the time of the history of the Veiled Prophet, but “ignorance is no excuse.”

The Veiled Prophet Organization put out its own statement saying it “acknowledges our past and recognizes the criticism levied our way.” The statement said that the organization today “rejects racism, in any form.”