DeGeneres tweeted a photo of Usain Bolt, the gold medal winner in the men’s 100-meter event at the Rio Olympics. Only she Photoshopped herself onto his back and posted that pic with the caption, “This is how I’m running errands from now on.”
To some Twitter users, DeGeneres’ joke was just a funny commentary on how Bolt is the fastest man in the world. She could finish her errands faster if she could do them at his speed. We get it.
But to others, DeGeneres was being racist by posting the image.
“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,” one user replied. Another wrote, “So riding on his back like a mule, a horse as some form of property is fun to you… Ok.”
@usainbolt So riding on his back like a mule, a horse as some form of property is fun to you…
— wanna see my cardigan? (@MiQL) August 15, 2016
Bolt himself retweeted the image, so he was clearly a fan. And others came to DeGeneres’ defense, insisting there was no racist meaning to the tweet: “because it’s not meant to offend anyone, it’s just a statement about how he’s the fastest man alive…if the fastest man was white, she would have photoshopped herself on him as well so it’s not a race issue,” one wrote. Another added, “literally I’m black and don’t take offense to this she’s basically complimenting him on his speed and stamina.”
@usainbolt literally I'm black and don't take offense to this she's basically complimenting him on his speed and stamina
— 🐚 (@fourfivehours) August 15, 2016
Still, all the backlash forced DeGeneres to go back to Twitter and explain herself.
“I am highly aware of the racism that exists in our country. It is the furthest thing from who I am,” she wrote.
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
Do you think Ellen DeGeneres’ tweet was inappropriate?
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