Throughout the 2016 Olympic Games, many memes and gifs have surfaced on social media, but a meme posted on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram by American talk show host Ellen DeGeneres caused a global stir, with some social media users claiming the meme is “racist”.
The meme is photoshopped to show DeGeneres riding on the back of Olympian Usain Bolt with the caption, “From now on, this is how I am running my errands.”
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) August 15, 2016
It had been retweeted more than 38 000 times by Thursday – including by Bolt – while the Facebook post had been shared more than 30 000 times.
However, some social media users called the meme racist:
@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
But many others defended it:
How is posting a meme of yourself on Usain Bolt's back racist? She was clearly complimenting his speed. Ellen Degeneres is not a racist.
— Ali Gutman (@AlexandraGutman) August 17, 2016
Eventually the human race will have to cease all communication entirely so that nobody gets offended by anything. https://t.co/JZJubqteQ2
— Gerard McDermott (@McDermie) August 17, 2016
Not everything is racism. Stop being hyper-sensitive about this Usain Bolt meme and leave Ellen Degeneres alone please.
— Rihsus. (@iDreamRihanna) August 16, 2016
DeGeneres has since responded to the accusation, tweeting the following:
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
Meanwhile, Bolt has been the subject of many other memes – unsurprisingly – during the Rio Olympics: