The Office star Ellie Kemper’s fans discover she was Queen of 'racist' ball where members wore KKK-style hoods

ELLIE Temper fans discovered a vintage picture of her at a St Louis 'elitist' ball prompting scrutiny into The Office actress' past.

The star, born in Kansas, 41, started trending on Twitter yesterday after fans found a picture of her as Queen of controversial St Louis' Veiled Prophet Ball in 1999.


Twitter users flocked to comment on the photo, some to 'call out' Kemper 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 other were quick to defend her and clarify. 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."

What is the Veiled Prophet Ball and does it have links to the KKK?

Every Fourth of July, downtown St. Louis comes alive with music, hot-air balloons, and fireworks, and food for the 'St Louis Fair', formerly known as the Veiled Prophet Ball until the early 1990s, The Atlantic reports.

It started in 1878 when grain executive and former Confederate cavalryman Charles Slayback called a meeting of local business and civic leaders.

His intention was to form a secret society that would blend the pomp and ritual of a New Orleans Mardi Gras.

It turned into an elaborate ritual where someone from a secret board of local eliteswould be chosen to anonymously play the role of the Veiled Prophet.

The Veiled Prophet would chose a 'Queen of Love and Beauty', which Ellie Kemper was selected as age 19, from among the elite ball attendees with whom he would dance a “Royal Quadrille” before presenting her with an expensive keepsake such as a tiara or pearls.

The fair been long-associated with its secretive nature and 'elitism', as historian Thomas Spencer explained: "The parade and all its pomp was meant to reinforce the values of the elite on the working class of the city," however there is no evidence of a direct link to the KKK.

But a 1878 edition of the Missouri Republican shows a picture of the Veiled Prophet with a striking resemblance to a Klansman.

In the early seventies, the fair was crashed by protesters, the Action Committee to Improve Opportunities for Negroes, campaigning to abolish the ball that "flaunted its wealth in front of the city's poorest residents".

And as was the case for most of the Deep South at the time, racial segregation was rampant and the Veiled Prophet didn't allow Black members to join until 1979, further incensing protestors at the time.

 

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