Perhaps caught up in the euphoria of Bolt’s unprecedented history-making performance, DeGeneres jumped on to the ‘Usain Bolt meme’ bandwagon with one of her own.
In the post, uploaded to her Twitter page on Monday, the TV host photoshopped herself on to the back of the reigning Olympic champion. She may not have expected the backlash that followed her post, and perhaps she would not have drawn any attention to herself if not for the caption accompanying the photo.
Many social media users believe DeGeneres’ photo caption was racist as she declared that riding on Bolt’s back would be how she would run her errands from now on.
A Twitter storm erupted as users pointed out why the post could be interpreted as a racist one.
“So riding on his back like a mule, a horse, as some form of property is fun to you,” one user commented.
The backlash was so severe that Degeneres was forced to respond. In her response to the outrage on Tuesday, the TV host again took to Twitter to make it clear that she wasn’t a racist and never intended for the meme to come off as such.
“I am highly aware of the racism that exists in our country. It is the furthest thing from who I am,” her response read.
Bolt made an appearance on the Ellen Degeneres Show in October last year. He was the surprise guest on the episode which featured Internet sensation Demarjay Smith. Smith, who is of Jamaican heritage, became an instant sensation after his motivational fitness videos went viral on YouTube.