Fastest human on the planet Usain Bolt yet again proved himself to be untouchable at the 100-meter last weekend after winning the Olympic gold for the third time in a row. The Jamaican runner was so dominant in the event, in fact, that a photo of him posing for the camera mid-race during the semifinals was quick to go viral and be turned into a hilarious meme. But while most responses to the picture inspired at least a few giggles, Ellen Degeneres’s take has instead caused some major backlash.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) August 15, 2016
On Monday, along with a Photoshopped image of Ellen riding on Usain’s back during his Olympic race, the daytime host tweeted out, “This is how I’m running errands from now on.” However, many were quick to point out the racist implications of her tweet, given that it featured a white woman riding on the back of a black man. People responded by telling her how offensive it was, and why, from a historical perspective, the image was so problematic.
— I ❤️ being BLACK!! (@iyonah) August 15, 2016
— Ⓐ #GrumpyCuntSec Ⓐ (@brazenqueer) August 16, 2016
Others, however, came to the host’s defense, saying that Ellen was simply trying to make a comment on how fast Usain was.
— marion (@fourfivehours) August 15, 2016
— Bryan Young (@BryanIsTheKing) August 16, 2016
Meanwhile, Ellen responded to the controversy herself on Tuesday, tweeting out, “I am highly aware of the racism that exists in our country. It is the furthest thing from who I am.”
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
Of course, this isn’t the first time that the host has been in hot water for potentially racist humor. In the past, Ellen has received a ton of criticism for her choice in Halloween costumes, which in recent years have been cartoonish takes on women of color with exaggerated, padded derrieres. When confronted about it by her fans, she has offered a similar response.
By Gina Mei