Tituss Burgess supports Ellie Kemper after apology for ball with racist ties
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Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt actor Tituss Burgess has thrown his support behind co-star Ellie Kemper after it emerged that she had previously taken part in a pageant with historical ties to white supremacy.
The 42-year-old television star has stood by Ellie – who plays Kimmy Schmidt – after the actress released an apology in which she addresses her participation in the controversial ball in her late teens.
Hours after Ellie had shared the statement, Tituss penned a touching message on Instagram in which he said that he 'loved' his co-star.
"I love my Ellie, Oh, & P.S. Next time, just ask me, I’ll tell ya what to do," Tituss wrote.
Ellie also responded to her co-star's kind message, adding: "I love you Tituss."
Tituss Burgess and Ellie Kemper star alongside each other in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
He later showered praise on his co-star when approached by Page Six. "We’re going to leave it at that,” he told the publication, before adding “My Ellie is doing wonderful. Ellie’s great.”
In Ellie's earlier statement, the actress explained that she had taken part in a pageant when she was 19-years-old that was associated with an organisation that had a 'racist, sexist and elitist past'.
She maintained that she was not aware of the organisation's history at the time and also went on to apologise to fans that she may have disappointed.
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It came after an image emerged of Ellie being crowned queen of St. Louis’ Veiled Prophet Ball in 1999. The organisation behind the ball – originally founded in 1878 – had banned Black and Jewish members until 1979.
Addressing the controversy, The Office actress said she 'deplored white supremacy' and vowed to continue educating herself going forward.
"Hi guys, when I was 19 years old, I decided to participate in a debutante ball in my hometown," she wrote.
Tituss Burgess will host the show
"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."
Ellie added: "I unequivocally deplore, denounce, and reject white supremacy," she added. "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."
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She added: "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."
Her apology has been met with widespread support as fans praised the star for her honesty and sincerity.
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