Ellie Kemper and the Veiled Prophet ball drama explained

Ellie Kemper and the Veiled Prophet Organization drama has taken over Twitter—here's what it's all about

Ellie Kemper, Ellie Kemper Veiled Prophet Society, NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 05: Ellie Kemper attend the 2019 Ad Council Dinner on December 05, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ellie Kemper, Veiled Prophet Organization, and the society's alleged controversial background are current topics of interest in the Twitterverse. News broke that the comedian was crowned the Queen of Love and Beauty at St. Louis’s Veiled Prophet ball over 20 years ago, and since the reveal, The Office funny lady has come under fire for her purported involvement with the group.

Ellie Kemper ball attendance: what happened and when?

In 1999, actress Ellie Kemper was crowned the Queen of Love and Beauty at St. Louis’ Veiled Prophet ball. After a tweet about the organization surfaced online, an article about Ellie's title and involvement with the society also appeared on the social media platform. The piece stated she was the 105th woman to receive the honor and was a Princeton freshman at the time. 

What is the Veiled Prophet Organization?

According to its website, the Veiled Prophet Organization was created to make St. Louis a better community. It has philanthropic efforts and its annual ball is considered the "preeminent formal gala for introducing young ladies". 

The St. Louis Cultural Resource Office stated that the ball itself was intended to reflect Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and a veiled prophet presides over the annual festivities. However, The Huffington Post noted that the event—and group itself—was problematic, particularly in the 1960s, among Black activists. Reportedly, people of color were not admitted into the society until the late 70s. 

The Veiled Prophet Organization has also been accused of racism, elitism, and alleged connections to the Ku Klux Klan, according to The Cut. The publication digs into its history and noted that its founders, brothers Alonzo and Charles Slayback, a confederate colonel and cavalryman, envisioned the group to be a "secret society". The group came about following the Great Railroad Strike in the late 1800s, which greatly affected the Black community at the time. 

Has the organization said anything?

In response to the backlash it has received, the society issued a statement reading, "Upon reflection, the Veiled Prophet Organization acknowledges our past and recognizes the criticism levied our way. We sincerely apologize for the actions and images from our history. Additionally, our lack of cultural awareness was and is wrong. We are committed to change, allowing our actions to match the organization we are today," according to Pix News.

Has Ellie Kemper issued a statement?

Ellie Kemper released a lengthy statement via Instagram several days after the news emerged. 

"Hi guys- when I was 19 years old, I decided to participate in a debutante ball in my hometown," she wrote. "The century-old organization that hosted the debutante ball had an unquestionably racist, sexist, and elitist past. I was not aware of this history at the time, but ignorance is no excuse."

She continued: "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 all capable of becoming."

Social media users certainly have a lot to say on the matter. While some are quick to blame and criticize, others believe the actress should be able to speak for herself regarding her involvement in the Veiled Prophet Organization. 

Regardless of what fans believe and who they're siding with, the Twitter posts are certainly causing a stir and gaining attention.

This news comes on the heels of the start of Pride Month and Juneteenth celebrations—always a great reminder to be loving and accepting, regardless of people's race, ethnicity, class, or sexuality.

Danielle Valente
Digital News Writer

Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.

Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few. 

When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.