Ellen DeGeneres Usain Bolt Meme Stirs Up Controversy - Rolling Stone
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Ellen DeGeneres and Usain Bolt Meme Stirs Up Olympic-Sized Controversy

People were not happy

Ellen DeGeneres racist, Usain Bolt Meme

Kevin Winter/Getty, Cameron Spencer/Getty

Usain Bolt’s performance in the 100-meter finals on Sunday got just about everyone in the world talking. Not only did he make history by becoming the first person to win the Olympic event three times – doing it in back-to-back-to-back Olympics, no less – he found himself being the talk of social media once again thanks to an Australian photographer who caught him looking back at his rivals with a smile on his face before crossing the finish line.

While many repurposed the image to make memes – several of which went viral – Ellen DeGeneres found herself dealing with accusations of racism for tweeting a photoshopped image of herself on Bolt’s back with the caption, “This is how I’m running errands from now on.”

And then the responses came pouring in. A whole lot of responses. 

Other people also jumped to her support in saying that those criticizing DeGeneres were being too sensitive and that her tweet wasn’t racist at all. It looks like Bolt – who has been on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in the past – found the humor in the image, too, since he shared it with his 4.23 million followers on Twitter. Nonetheless, DeGeneres posted an apology on Tuesday by saying she is “highly aware of the racism that exists in our country” and that it is “the furthest thing from who I am.”

There’s probably a good chance this won’t be the last we hear of this debacle.


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