Usain Bolt kept his record intact as the fastest runner on the planet when he took home his third Olympic gold medal for Jamaica in the 100-meter race this past weekend. Shortly after, a still shot of Bolt running at lightning speed was turned into a hilarious internet meme. While the majority of the posts about the meme were met with laughs, one by Ellen DeGeneres—which shows the comedian Photoshopped onto Bolt’s back as he is racing—has caused lots of backlash for racist undertones.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) August 15, 2016
People across the internet took it upon themselves to call out DeGeneres directly on Twitter and to point out everything they feel is wrong with the post.
@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
Ellen has since responded, tweeting, “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
While it’s clear that her post had lighthearted intentions, it’s difficult to overlook this. The job of a comedian is to make people laugh, but the feelings of others should always be taken into consideration.