*Tituss Burgess has come to the defense of his “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” co-star Ellie Kemper after she caught major heat for participating in a debutante ball as a teen that was hosted by an organization with an “unquestionably racist, sexist, and elitist past.”
Kemper was named the queen of the ball with ties to white supremacy. The Broadway star, 42, publicly apologized this week on Instagram after photos surfaced of her being crowned at the St. Louis’ Veiled Prophet Ball in 1999. The “Office” alum said that she didn’t know the history of the debutante ball at the time.
“I was old enough to have educated myself before getting involved,” she said. “I unequivocally deplore, denounce, and reject white supremacy. 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.”
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She continued, “I believe strongly in the values of kindness, integrity, and inclusiveness. 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.”
Burgess told Page Six that he has spoken to Kemper, saying “My Ellie is doing wonderful. Ellie’s great.” He reposted Kemper’s apology on his Instagram account, writing alongside it: “I love my Ellie. Oh, & P.S. Next time, just ask me, I’ll tell ya what to do.”
Per Page Six, “the Veiled Prophet Ball was originally formed in 1878 by elites to honor the ritual of Mardi Gras, and is allegedly associated with white supremacy,” the outlet writes.