Television personality and icon Ellen DeGeneres received quite a bit of backlash recently over a tweet considered as “racist” on social media.
The popular talk-show host tweeted an altered meme of herself piggyback-riding Usain Bolt, Olympic veteran sprinter, and multi-gold medalist, on Monday. The image used in the tweet was the viral photo of Bolt smiling for the camera while “going for the gold” at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“This is how I’m running errands from now on.”
While some found the post as another humorous joke from DeGeneres, a large population of social media users impugned the so-called “racist” image. Some depicted the meme as a white woman riding on the back of a black man.
Numerous fans have spoken out in defense of DeGeneres who has been most well-known for her spirit of humor which has been constantly grounded in acceptance and tolerance. Fellow television personality Steve Harvey had this to say during a recent radio segment on The Steve Harvey Morning Show, “Let me tell you something. I’ve been around this woman a bunch of times,” he said. “I don’t think there’s a stick of racism in her body. Now, I see where people are trying to go with this, but in her case, don’t do that. ‘Cause that ain’t even how she thinks. She cares on so many levels on so many things, and if she’d have thought for one moment that that’s what anybody would’ve did, she’d have never done it. But it’s not even in her mental psyche. She’s just one of the coolest chicks I’ve ever met, man.”
On Tuesday, DeGeneres commented on the backlash, tweeting, “I am highly aware of the racism that exists in our country. It is the furthest thing from who I am.”