Hollywood actress and Stockholm syndrome sufferer Ellie Kemper made headlines recently when she issued a desperate, groveling apology for attending a debutante ball when she was 19 that was hosted by an organization that abolished its whites-only membership policy a year before she was born.
Seriously. That’s it. She apologized for that.
Vicious left-wing attacks on the already left-leaning and apparently hyper-sensitive entertainer caused her to pull a Patty Hearst and embrace the woke mob that has taken her hostage. Kemper, like Hearst, comes from a wealthy and influential family. She has acknowledged she “had a very privileged, nice, warm childhood.”
Lefty Twitter smeared Kemper as a “KKK queen” after old photos appeared in cyberspace showing her being crowned the “Queen of Love and Beauty” at the Veiled Prophet Ball in 1999. The event, hosted by the Veiled Prophet Organization, which has no historical ties to the Ku Klux Klan, was later renamed the Fair Saint Louis.
The Veiled Prophet Organization (VPO) was founded in 1878 by 14 prominent St. Louis, Missouri businessmen, race-obsessed leftist academic Kelsey Klotz wrote in two 2018 articles in The Common Reader, but “many attribute the idea of the Veiled Prophet (VP) to Confederate Colonel Alonzo Slayback and his brother, Charles Slayback, a New Orleans grain broker who was a Confederate cavalryman.”
According to myth, “the Veiled Prophet is a mystical traveler from the ambiguous East who decided to establish St. Louis as a beautiful city. The fact that St. Louis was chosen was meant to be indicative of its worth and value as a city based in the grand traditions of the Old World, but prepared to progress to the New World.”
“Critics of the organization have charged the Veiled Prophet Organization (VPO) with maintaining power within St. Louis through intersecting race, class, and gender-based ideologies, in which power was nearly always meant for white, upper-class men (the race of its membership has changed somewhat since the 1980s, but the gender dynamics remain almost exactly the same),” she wrote.
But as historian Thomas Spencer has argued, “this made the VPO an organization of its time—it did not appear to have been any more or less racist than other fraternal organizations,” Klotz wrote. “Like others, the VPO did initiate a few minority members, including foreign-born immigrants and a handful of Jewish members (black members were only admitted beginning in 1979).”
Activists protested VPO’s racially exclusionary membership policy for decades.
After Michael Brown, a young black man, was shot and killed in August 2014 while he tried to murder a white police officer in nearby Ferguson, Missouri, activists targeted VPO for destruction, arguing it was a tool of wealthy elites.
One group called Power Behind the Police launched a Twitter campaign, #unveiltheprofit, and
“Missourians Organized for Reform and Empowerment (MORE) compiled information on St. Louis’s 1%, and linked that information to the VP organization,” Klotz continued.
MORE, of course, is the successor organization that took the place of Missouri ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now). ACORN filed for bankruptcy in 2010 after Hannah Giles and James O’Keefe, who went on to found investigative journalism powerhouse Project Veritas, exposed the corrupt leftist group’s criminal inclinations.
During the destructive Ferguson protests, which leftist billionaire George Soros funded, MORE worked to free jailed demonstrators so they could continue vandalizing businesses, intimidating perceived adversaries, setting fires, throwing projectiles and human waste at cops, and engaging in the Left’s usual modes of mostly peaceful protest. MORE, like Black Lives Matter and Antifa, believes that protesters should be given a blank check to inflict whatever harm they wish on the community in pursuit of social justice.
“MORE sponsored a weeklong protest entitled ‘Unveil the Profit’ around July 4, 2015. They traveled to the homes and businesses of seven of St. Louis’s wealthiest businessmen with portraits and cakes decorated to highlight St. Louis’s ‘history of injustice and corporate control’ (meant to counter the 250th birthday cakes that appeared around St. Louis that year),” Klotz wrote.
According to community organizer Molly Gott, the anti-VPO protests of 2015 were intended to expose the “power behind the police”: “Police don’t really have the power—the 1% does … most people realized that the movement was not just about police accountability; it was also about ending structural racism and economic inequality and creating a future in which Black Lives Matter.”
After the Kemper controversy erupted, the VPO distanced itself from its past.
“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 a statement it released.
“The VP Organization of today categorically rejects racism, in any form. Today’s VP is committed to diversity and equity in our membership, community service initiatives and support for the region,” the group continued. “Our hope is that moving forward, the community sees us for who we are today and together we can move this region forward for everyone. We are, and always will be committed to the success of the region and making St Louis a better place to live for all.“
Then Kemper distanced herself from her younger self.
In what has become a popular rite of self-denunciation for those who run afoul of ultra-leftist orthodoxy, Kemper took to social media to debase herself and beg for forgiveness even though she didn’t do anything wrong.
Her confession on Instagram to her 1.2 million Instagram followers is filled with the kind of woke cant one might expect to read in a pro-critical race theory book. It reads like it was prepared for her signature by a KGB officer after she was tortured during an extended stay at Lefortovo Prison.
The document, a case study in the psychopathology of brainwashing victims, is worth reprinting in its entirety.
“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 this history at the time, but ignorance is no excuse, I was old enough to have educated myself before getting involved.
“I unequivocally deplore, denounced, 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.
“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.
“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.”
Of course, no normal, reasonable person, would equate participating in a gala event thrown by a group that conspicuously abandoned its racially discriminatory past with burning a cross on a black family’s lawn or hunting down runaway slaves.
Moreover, taking the bizarre woke standards of this week and applying them retroactively to something that happened in 1999 when America was culturally different is an example of “presentism” that ought to offend even some people on the Left.
And Kemper’s denunciation of her own so-called white privilege ought to sicken everyone capable of rational thought.
“Ellie Kemper doesn’t deserve this,” the headline of a column by CNN bloviator Jill Filipovic declares, referring to the abuse the actress experienced when the world recently learned she was once crowned Queen of Love and Beauty by an organization whose racial attitudes, though considered repugnant today, were common and unremarkable in the past.
I’m not sure I agree. It depends on the meaning of the word “this.”
Kemper does not deserve to be ridiculed for attending a debutante ball when she was 19, but she deserves heavy criticism for embracing and validating the ideology known as critical race theory.
She has helped to advance an evil cause that if not stopped will tear America apart.