Tituss Burgess Responds to Ellie Kemper’s Pageant Apology: Here’s What He Said

Tituss Burgess Reacts to Ellie Kemper’s Pageant Apology

The recent controversy surrounding Ellie Kemper’s involvement in a debutante ball with racist origins has sparked a conversation about accountability, forgiveness, and the impact of social media on our cultural discourse. The «Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt» star issued a public apology after a photo of her being crowned the Queen of Love and Beauty at the Veiled Prophet Ball in 1999 resurfaced, prompting a wave of criticism and calls for her to address her participation in the event.

The Apology

In her statement, Kemper acknowledged the racist history of the organization that hosts the Veiled Prophet Ball, expressing regret for not being more aware of its roots at the time of her participation. She also affirmed her commitment to using her platform to promote inclusivity and equality, stating, «I unequivocally deplore, denounce, and reject white supremacy.»

Tituss Burgess’ Response

Tituss Burgess, Kemper’s co-star on «Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,» weighed in on the controversy during an interview on «Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen.» Burgess, who is openly gay and Black, expressed his support for Kemper and commended her for taking ownership of her mistake. He emphasized the importance of allowing people to learn and grow from their past actions, stating, «I think that when we recognize the need to change, change can happen.»

Burgess also highlighted the broader significance of the conversation around Kemper’s apology, acknowledging the impact of systemic racism and the need for individuals to educate themselves about the history of organizations they are associated with. He stressed the importance of engaging in open dialogue and embracing opportunities for growth and understanding.

Lessons Learned

The public response to Kemper’s apology and Burgess’ supportive stance offers valuable insights into the complexities of accountability, forgiveness, and allyship. The incident serves as a reminder that individuals in the public eye are not immune to the consequences of their actions, and that the power of social media can shine a spotlight on past behaviors that may be inconsistent with present values.

The evolution of our cultural awareness and understanding of social justice issues requires a commitment to ongoing education, self-reflection, and dialogue. In the case of Ellie Kemper, her willingness to confront the impact of her participation in an event with racist origins and publicly address it serves as a model for acknowledging past mistakes and striving to do better in the future.

Impact of Social Media

The viral nature of the resurfaced photo and the subsequent public apology demonstrate the far-reaching influence of social media in shaping public discourse and holding public figures accountable for their actions. The rapid dissemination of information and opinions through platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok amplifies the impact of individual and collective voices, creating a digital landscape where accountability is increasingly demanded and transparency is essential.

While the power of social media to amplify social justice movements and call attention to systemic issues is undeniable, it also raises questions about the potential for disproportionate consequences and the need for nuanced conversations about forgiveness and growth. As the boundaries between public and private spheres continue to blur, the role of social media in shaping our understanding of individuals’ past actions and their capacity for change is a central concern in our contemporary cultural landscape.

Looking Ahead

The Ellie Kemper pageant apology controversy offers an opportunity for reflection and dialogue about the complexities of forgiveness, accountability, and allyship in the digital age. It underscores the importance of being vigilant in our examination of the historical context of our actions and associations, as well as the need for compassion and understanding as individuals navigate the process of reckoning with past mistakes and striving for personal growth.

It also raises the vital question of how social media can be leveraged to foster constructive conversations about social justice and equity, as well as the potential pitfalls of engaging in public discourse that can impact individuals’ reputations and livelihoods. As we continue to grapple with the intersection of social media, cultural awareness, and individual responsibility, the Ellie Kemper pageant apology serves as a thought-provoking case study in the ongoing pursuit of progress and allyship in a rapidly changing world.

In conclusion, the response to Ellie Kemper’s pageant apology from both the public and her co-star Tituss Burgess highlights the complexities of navigating accountability, forgiveness, and the evolving role of social media in our cultural discourse. The incident prompts discussions about the impact of past actions on present values, the power of social media to amplify accountability, and the potential for growth and understanding in the face of past mistakes. As we grapple with these complex issues, the conversation around the Ellie Kemper pageant apology offers valuable insights into the ongoing pursuit of social justice and allyship in our interconnected world.


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4. Busis, H. (2021). «Tituss Burgess Reacts to Ellie Kemper’s Pageant Apology: ‘I Love My Ellie.'» Vulture. Retrieved from

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