We’ve been waiting for this one.
To be honest, we weren’t sure what kind of statement Ellie Kemper could make in response to the revelation she was a teenage “KKK queen” — or, more accurately, that she had been involved in a debutante ball put on by a traditionally racist organization with historical links to the Ku Klux Klan.
We will say, this is a good start. In an Instagram post on Monday, she writes:
“Hi guys, when I was 19 years old, I decided to participate in a debutante ball in my hometown. 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. I was old enough to have educated myself before getting involved.”
For reference, she was definitely old enough, as she was a student at Princeton at the time. But access to the truth doesn’t always equal knowledge of it, as we know all too well these days. And it’s easy to stay ignorant when the system is only cheering you on.
However, the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt star does not excuse herself from the fact she was a beneficiary of racism, saying:
“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.”
On her criticism over the past week, she reflects:
“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.”
“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.”
That definitely would be the preferable takeaway from all of this. No one wants to cancel Erin from The Office, but shining a light on the insidious racism that has been allowed to go unchecked in major institutions across the country is a crucial step for moving forward.
Finally, Ellie apologizes directly, saying:
“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.”
What do YOU think of her apology??
You can see the whole post for yourself (below):
A post shared by Ellie Kemper (@elliekemper)
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