Ellen DeGeneres has responded to the firestorm over a meme she posted depicting her riding on the back of the world's fastest man — Usain Bolt.
The TV talk show host posted the meme after a photo of Bolt appeared to show him smiling as he ran past his competition on the way to win gold in the men's 200-meter dash Sunday in Rio.
Some critics on social media were outraged and called the meme racist.
“You thought it'd be funny to post a pic of yourself riding on the back of a black man? Nope,” was one reaction.
After the backlash, she tweeted: “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
The Ellen picture is culturally insensitive & could be offensive. I find it offensive.— Document Thief. (@seabethree) August 16, 2016
Racist or not Ellen's joke was in poor taste . I don't look at it as cute or funny .. Too much in our history to think this is cute / funny.— Jeannie (JEH-nee)❣ (@JenLaPrincesse) August 16, 2016
The Jamaican runner found the meme funny and not mean-spirited. He retweeted it to his followers right after Ellen initially posted it on Sunday.