Ellie Kemper, who played Erin on the TV show The Office, has been the target of a race smear campaign more ridiculous than usual. The absurdity of it is summed up in this headline at The Root: Ellie Kemper, Who Appeared on TV Show That Actually Starred Tituss Burgess, Outed as Former ‘KKK Princess’ on Twitter:
It all started this weekend when Twitter user @HereIsMySpout posted a thread with the leading sentence, “Ellie Kemper the actress who played Erin Hannon on The Office and starred in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt has been outed as a KKK Princess.”
Oop! Not Ellie KKKemper! Tell us more!
Well, apparently the rabbit hole was opened when it became apparent that there are basically “Klan Balls” in Kemper’s native St. Louis, Mo. They’re called Veiled Prophet Balls, and they were historically exclusive to elite white folks. According to Newsweek, African Americans were eventually allowed to join in 1979 after protest…but…why would we want to???
Go figure that something created for the elite in 1878 was “historically exclusive to elite white folks.” Kemper was named “The Queen of Love and Beauty” at one of these events in 1999, 20 years after blacks were allowed to join, but somehow she is now a “KKK princess” and has been smeared as a racist for the crime of winning a beauty pageant.
The “KKK princess” thing is all over Twitter, in one of the more blatant smears in recent memory.
Alex Griswold has a nice thread on Twitter debunking all this nonsense which you can read here. As for the notion that these were “basically Klan balls,” this is apparently based on this description from Scott Beauchamp at The Atlantic: “In fact, to underline the message of class and race hegemony, the image of the first Veiled Prophet is armed with a shotgun and pistol and is strikingly similar in appearance to a Klansman.” Sounds pretty Klanlike!!!! . . . until you learn that KKK members did not dress that way until 1915 at the earliest, and the robes did not really take hold until the 1920s. No matter to the “KKK princess” crowd, Griswold notes:
I like how The Cut makes a claim in the subheadline, then includes a historical fact that *completely torpedoes* said claim, and just chugs along as if nothing happened. pic.twitter.com/h3ubJBm7jn
— Alex Griswold (@HashtagGriswold) June 2, 2021
This urge to label people racist on the flimsiest of pretexts is totally out of control in this country. It’s a sickness and social media spreads it like the contagion it is. Maybe it’s time for people to socially distance themselves from Twitter.