Ellie Kemper is trending after an old newspaper clipping appeared to show her being crowned the queen of the Veiled Prophet Ball in 1999 aged 19.
The cutting named The Office and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt star as the 105th young woman to be honoured with the Queen of Love and Beauty title and was accompanied by a photograph of her being crowned.
The Veiled Prophet Ball, an annual debutante ball held in St Louis, Missouri each December has a complex past.
The annual event was first founded in 1878 and historian Thomas M Spencer cited that its goals were to boost trade and class control, with The Atlantic adding it ‘reinforced the notion of a benevolent cultural elite’.
Pictures of the Veiled Prophets bear a resemblance to members of the Ku Klux Klan and according to the publication, Black people were not allowed into the organisation for some time.
The Queen of Love and Beauty were selected by the Veiled Prophet from among the debutantes who had received invitations to the ball.
Kemper is an actress and comedian and is best known for her roles as Kimmy in Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Erin Hannon in The Office.
In the former, her character Kimmy was a former abductee and forced cult-member who wants to shed the victim pity of her small hometown and moves to New York.
In New York, Kimmy befriends her street-wise landlady Lillian Kaushtupper, finds a roommate in struggling actor Titus Andromedon, and gains a job as a nanny for the melancholic and out-of-touch socialite Jacqueline Voorhees.
News of Kemper’s crowning circulated far and wide on social media, with many people pointing out that it could be a storyline from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, a sitcom which saw Kemper’s character Kimmy adjust to life after her rescue from a doomsday cult.
‘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,’ wrote one.
‘Ellie Kemper was a student at Princeton around the same time as she won a KKK pageant. It’s almost like the Ivy League continues to be a hotbed for racism and a key protector of America’s most destructive institutions.’
Kemper has yet to speak out about her involvement with the ball, but there is no suggestion she knew about its alleged origins.
Metro.co.uk has contacted Kemper’s rep for comment.