Ellen DeGeneres’ Usain Bolt meme courts Twitter backlash as presenter responds to ‘racism’ allegations
US chat show host Ellen DeGeneres has responded to controversy on Twitter after sharing a Photoshopped image of herself riding on the back of Olympic champion Usain Bolt.
Ellen posted the altered image of herself and Bolt on Monday evening
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) August 15, 2016
On Monday (15 August) the TV star tweeted an altered version of Getty’s iconic image of Bolt smiling during Sunday's 100m men’s semi-finals at the Olympics. She captioned the picture: “This is how I’m running errands from now on #Rio2016.”
Users were quick to accuse DeGeneres of “racism” over the post, dubbing it “offensive” and “racist garbage.” One user wrote: "Imagine a white man Photoshop himself riding Elaine Thompson.”
@TheEllenShow You thought it'd be funny to post a pic of yourself riding on the back of a Black man? Nope. Delete this racist garbage.
— Mike (@MikeAllen_47) August 15, 2016
Which intern with B-level Photoshop skills posted this? Who thought Ellen riding Bolt like he's her mule is cute? https://t.co/6jox5MNMRW
— TayGo (@taygogo) August 15, 2016
— Trisha Hernandez (@twiztedtree) August 16, 2016
The presenter's fans, meanwhile, were quick to support her – with one noting that the tweet was simply "insensitive".
— R (@fourfivehours) August 15, 2016
I don't think Ellen is racist. But I KNOW that photoshopping your pic on a Black man's back w a caption a running errands is insensitive af.
— Lwaxana Troi (@jennib3) August 16, 2016
DeGeneres posted a second tweet yesterday (17 August) that indirectly addressed the accusations against her. Saying racism was the "furthest thing," from who she was.
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
The original image of Bolt racing to the finish line with ease has been shared thousands of times since Sunday evening.