Ellen DeGeneres Defends Herself Against Accusations of Racism for Usain Bolt Tweet

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"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."

Here's a look at the conflicting social media reactions to DeGeneres' tweet.

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.