— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) August 15, 2016
What was meant as a joke about Usain Bolt and Ellen DeGeneres swiftly went awry on Twitter.
On Monday, the daytime talk show host’s official Twitter account tweeted a doctored image of Ellen riding the back of the gold medalist.
The photo is the now famous one of him smiling as he heads to winning the men’s 100m race at the Olympics in Rio.
The tweet’s caption from Ellen reads “This is how I’m running errands from now on.”
Some on Twitter found the image less than golden, with cries of racism and insensitivity in joking about a white woman riding the back of a black man.
Ellen has since responded to the controversy with this tweet:
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
But many are still upset.
this is tasteless and full of racist undertones…expected better from you…
— Latishia James, MDiv (@PurposefullyLJ) August 16, 2016
But others defended DeGeneres and pointed out that she and Bolt, who has appeared before on her show, are friends.
One person tweeted, “If Usain was white, y’all wouldn’t care. We all know Ellen isn’t racist & didn’t mean any harm by that. Stop it.”
If Usain was white, y'all wouldn't care. We all know Ellen isn't racist & didn't mean any harm by that. Stop it 🙄
— Titus Andromedon (@xtraordinairee_) August 16, 2016
@usainbolt find something else to be fake offended by. This is fun and funny and Ellen's not racist.
— Stacey Machelle / ADHD is the new Black (@StaceyMachelle) August 16, 2016
Obviously Usain Bolt doesn't think Ellen is racist because if he did he wouldn't have retweeted the picture, you're all just picking a fight
— Nikki🤓 (@NikkiLeighP_) August 17, 2016
The Ellen Show followed the first tweet with one featuring a video of Bolt’s appearance on the show where Bolt raced a then 8-year-old viral video star, Demarjay Smith.