Ellen DeGeneres denies being racist after igniting online fury with photo of her riding Usain Bolt
Always one to use self-deprecating humor, daytime darling Ellen DeGeneres is in hot water after tweeting a photo of herself holding on to Olympic record-setter Usain Bolt. DeGeneres was making a joke that henceforth she’ll just piggyback on Bolt to run her errands.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) August 15, 2016
The photo is from the original shot of Bolt smiling while sprinting to his gold medal win in the 100m dash.
While the photo was meant to capitalize on the popularity of Bolt and the Olympics and make a comparison to Bolt being faster than a car, Twitter was not happy with DeGeneres.
— iyonah (@iyonah) August 15, 2016
@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
The Jamaican Olympian retweeted the photo, although he did so without commentary.
— R K (@SarcasmIsLifeRK) August 16, 2016
Many defended DeGeneres, saying that she comes out against all forms of discrimination and bullying and couldn’t possibly have meant it in an offensive way.
— Kellz (@ChippedKelly) August 16, 2016
— Lindsey || 86 days (@HobbitLindsey) August 16, 2016
— Pretty Flacko Trezzy (@tbyrd423) August 16, 2016
— Adam McKola (@AdamMcKola) August 17, 2016
— Bryan Young (@BryanIsTheKing) August 16, 2016
— R (@fourfivehours) August 15, 2016
— R (@fourfivehours) August 16, 2016
DeGeneres ultimately responded to the photo saying that she is far from a racist.
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