This past Monday, Actress Ellie Kemper, who is best known for her role as Erin Hannon on “The Office,” was the target of the Twitter machine’s character assassination attempts. This took place after it was discovered that she had once been crowned the “Queen of Love and Beauty” as a part of an extremely long-running Missouri debutante ball. The user slinging accusations incorrectly claimed that the event is “put on by [St. Louis’] KKK” but as the internet does it took these falsehoods and ran with them like Forest Gump, resulting in a multitude of headlines that will likely lead to extreme damage to the actress’ career.
As it is called now, the Fair St. Louis was originally started by a group of local business leaders as the Veiled Prophet Ball back in 1878 to aid the city in its competition with Chicago’s quickly growing commercial dominance and as a PR stunt against workers striking. The event was inspired by an Irish poem, “Lalla Rookh” by Thomas Moore, and the Mardi Gras parties. The group of leaders created a fake mythic society that was centered around a mysterious character known as the “Veiled Prophet of Khorassan” who was a mystic traveler that would select the worthiest beauty from the daughters of the city’s elite.
This makes Kemper a prime candidate for being chosen at the event.
Before her career sparked off, Kemperwent through her childhood as part of one of the most wealthy families in all of Missouri. The Kemper fortune was made by her great-great-grandfather William Thornton Kemper Sr., a banker and railroad magnate, and her father held the role of chairman and CEO of the bank holding company, Commerce Bancshares.
She won the crown back in 1999 when she was a 19-year-old first year at Princeton University. The periodical, Post-Dispatch, covered the vent and reported on her win by describing her athletic, academic, and altruistic qualifications as a national merit scholarship finalist, a field-hockey champion, and a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity and the St. Louis Crisis Nursery.
Using no facts and claiming that this and a 2014 Atlantic story that shows no connection to the confederacy or any mention of the Klas, Twitter frothed at the mouth to try and cancel Kemper, branding her a “KKK princess.”
Twitter activists attempted to use a black-and-white 1878 newspaper drawing of the Veiled Prophet in a pointed hood as sure-fire proof of the association to the Klan. This was discredited by the Smithsonian that stated that the KKK did not even adopt the use of hooded uniforms until 1915. A Post-Dispatch society report at the time described the figure as being clad in a red and green costume, not white.