ELLIE Kemper was slammed over the weekend for being crowned Queen of an allegedly "racist" event in 1999, which might be canceled this year.
The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt star was trending on Twitter after a photo emerged of her at 19-years-old being crowned the winner of the Veiled Prophet Ball – an event with an allegedly racist history.
The ball, which typically would be held during the week around the 4th of July – has yet to be confirmed for this summer.
When asked if the ball would be happening and with only weeks left until Independence Day, a spokesperson for the event exclusively told The Sun: “We continue to monitor the Covid-19 situation in the United States and Missouri. The safety of our guests and staff is our greatest priority.
“We will make a decision regarding this event at a later date with guidance from local and national health professionals.”
The Veiled Prophet Organization also defended their event earlier this week amid the controversy.
The group told The Sun: "We absolutely reject racism and have never partnered or associated with any organization that harbors these beliefs."
The organization has dedicated itself to the "civic progress, economic contributions and charitable causes in St. Louis."
In their commitment to supporting St. Louis over the past 143 years, the Veiled Prophet Organization has annually hosted "dozens of community service projects" and donated "tens of thousands of dollars and service hours to support a variety of charity partners," which included Beyond Housing, Mission, St. Louis, Missouri Veterans Endeavor, North Side Community School, Promise Community Homes, Brightside St. Louis, and Forest Park Forever.
The statement from the VP organization continued: "Making many significant infrastructure and cultural gifts to the City, including lighting of the Eads Bridge, the Mississippi River Overlook and the mile-long Riverfront Promenade, and partnering in providing the Grand Staircase beneath the Arch as part of the National Park System and to the irrigation system as part of Forest Park Forever."
The America’s Birthday Parade and Fair St. Louis have reflected "the diversity of the St. Louis community" and included "a wide variety of partners," such as PrideFest and the Annie Malone Parade.
An employee also came forward to defend the actress – and the event.
An employee of what was formerly known as the Veiled Prophet Ball told The Sun: “It's 130, almost 140-year-old organization. And I don’t believe any organization that is 50 to 100 years old looks anything like it did originally.”
“We, the organization, back in the late 50s, early 60s made a concerted effort based on the premise that you cannot serve the community unless that entire community is represented in the organization. And so, I think the organization is reflective of the community and the makeup of the community,” the source explains.
The source noted Ellie's participation in the event in 1999 was decades after the organization's efforts reflected the accurate makeup of the St. Louis community, and added that she participated well beyond any potentially problematic point in its history.
The Sun reached out to Ellie's reps for comment.
The source continued to explain the current charitable nature of the organization, which is now called Fair St. Louis.
“So much of the energies of this organization are focused on community service and have given huge projects or gifts to the city and to various agencies, who I'm sure would be more than happy to stand up and validate that.”
The event’s name changed several times over the years, from Veiled Prophet Ball to the VP Parade to its current moniker, Fair St. Louis.
The timing of the event has also changed from late December to being held during the week of Independence Day, however the ball was last held in 2019, presumably due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The Fair St. Louis employee continued: “This is an organization whose members are St. Louis families, who have been in business in St. Louis for many years.
"Since its founding, the organization was created to do something positive, and help make St. Louis a better place to live.”
As far as the storied past of the Veiled Prophet Ball, the source contended: “The theory, that the organization was steeped in racism is a theory that stems from a book that was an overreach of somebody's doctoral thesis. That's a hypothesis that someone's presenting, but based on the history that I know, I do not agree with it.”
The 41-year-old actress, who was born in Kansas, was barraged by comments on social media through the week.
Twitter users flocked to comment on the old photo to "call out" Ellie for "racist links" from being dubbed Queen of Love and Beauty and others to highlight the importance of facts before jumping on the trend.
One user said: "People are really trying to make the case that this 'tradition' Ellie Kemper participated in wasn’t created by the klan or at least klan adjacent?"
Another agreed: "It really is something that Ellie Kemper was the star of a tv show about a woman who leaves a racist cult and tries to rebrand herself while pretending it never happened. No reason why I'm bringing this up of course."
But others quickly defended her. One said: "I spent ten years of my life in St. Louis (including the time she’s talking about) and I’m familiar with the Veiled Prophet Ball — even knew people who attended it. I’m pretty sure as far as we knew it was just a debutante ball for the society folks."
Another said: "To be accurate, the Veiled Prophet Ball is an event run by classist (and admittedly likely racist) ultra wealthy families in St. Louis and it is quite the stretch to call Ellie a so-called 'KKK princess' based on her selection as queen in 1999."
Every Fourth of July, downtown St. Louis would come alive with music, hot-air balloons, and fireworks, and food for the St Louis Fair, which was formerly known as the Veiled Prophet Ball until the early 1990s, The Atlantic reported.
It started in 1878 when grain executive and former Confederate cavalryman Charles Slayback called for a meeting of local business and civic leaders.
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