Tituss Burgess has supported his co-star Ellie Kemper after she came under fire (Picture: FilmMagic)
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt actor Tituss Burgess has supported his co-star Ellie Kemper after she apologised for her past links to a controversial St Louis ball.
The actress came under fire after an old newspaper clipping of her being crowned at the Veiled Prophet Ball in 1999 re-emerged.
Ellie described the organisation behind the debutante ball as having an ‘unquestionably racist, sexist and elitist past’ and said that her ‘ignorance is no excuse’.
Tituss, who plays Titus Andromedon alongside Ellie’s Kimmy Schmidt on the Netflix series, supported his co-star, reposting her apology and writing: ‘I love my Ellie ❤️, Oh, & P.S. Next time, just ask me, I’ll tell ya what to do 🥰’.
Ellie, 41, commented: ‘I love you Tituss ❤️❤️❤️’.
Tituss, 42, wasn’t alone in supporting the actress, with The Office stars also commenting, after Ellie starred as secretary Erin Hannon in the NBC series.
Angela Kinsey (Angela Martin) and Mindy Kaling (Kelly Kapoor) commented heart emoji, while Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute) said: ‘You are an awesome and beautiful and brave human being! Xo Love you.’
Kate Flannery (Meredith Palmer) added: ‘We love you, Ellie Kemper. ❤️❤️❤️’.
Comedian Rob Delaney said: ‘I think you’re great. 🌈❤️’ while Alec Baldwin added: ‘You are understood and loved’.
Speaking out after she came under fire, Ellie said she is ‘the beneficiary of a system that has dispensed unequal justice and unequal rewards’.
The star went on: ‘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.
Ellie stars as Kimmy Schmidt in the Netflix series (Picture: REX/Shutterstock)
‘But at some point last week, I realised that a lot of the forces behind the criticism are forces that I’ve spent my life supporting and agreeing with.’
She shared that she tries to live life ‘in accordance with values’ of ‘kindness, integrity and inclusiveness’.
‘If my experience is an indication that organisations 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.’
Ellie continued: ‘I want to apologise 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.’
The Veiled Prophet Ball is an annual debutante ball held in St Louis, Missouri each December, and historian Thomas M Spencer cited that its goals were to boost trade and class control, with The Atlantic adding it ‘reinforced the notion of a benevolent cultural elite’.
It’s hosted by an organisation which was once called the Mystic Order of the Veiled Prophet of the Enchanted Realm, before being rebranded to the Veiled Prophet Organization.
The organisation and ball have a racist and elitist history. The organisation was created by grain broker Charles Slayback and his Confederate Army officer brother Alonzo.
It also didn’t admit Black members until 1979, 100 years after it began.
The Veiled Prophet Organization has said to USA TODAY that it is ‘dedicated to civic progress, economic contributions and charitable causes in St. Louis.’
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