Ellen DeGeneres Defends Herself Against Accusations of Racism for Usain Bolt Tweet
"I am highly aware of the racism that exists in our country."
On Tuesday, Ellen DeGeneres responded to accusations that a Photoshopped Usain Bolt tweet she posted was racist.
The controversy started when DeGeneres posted a picture of herself riding piggyback-style on a smiling Bolt as he raced to the finish line, in the now famous photograph of his semifinal win at the Olympics. "This is how I'm running errands from now on," tweeted DeGeneres on Monday.
The tweet incited some backlash, with Twitter users saying it was racist of DeGeneres, a white woman, to picture herself riding on top of Bolt, a black man. The photograph of Bolt beaming as he races far ahead of his competition went viral this week and many people have turned it into a popular Internet meme.
"I am highly aware of the racism that exists in our country," wrote DeGeneres in response to the controversy. "It is the furthest thing from who I am."
I am highly aware of the racism that exists in our country. It is the furthest thing from who I am.— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) August 16, 2016
Here's a look at the conflicting social media reactions to DeGeneres' tweet.
@TheEllenShow so the first thing that pops in your head when looking at this pic is "oh let me jump onto his back like he's a common mule"?— Jon Snow-ratio (@Jhoratio) August 15, 2016
@TheEllenShow This is so gross. Fire whoever did this.— dai for night (@daibyday) August 15, 2016
Bolt has appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show before; last season he raced an 8-year-old Jamaican video star. DeGeneres shared a clip from the moment on Twitter, an hour after posting the now-controversial piggyback tweet.