Ellen's Usain Bolt tweet deemed racist

Story highlights

  • Ellen tweeted Tuesday about the controversy
  • DeGeneres was joking about Bolt's Olympic win
  • Some were offended while others defended her

(CNN)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.
    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."
    On Tuesday DeGeneres responded to the controversy by tweeting "I am highly aware of the racism that exists in our country. It is the furthest thing from who I am."
    The Ellen Show initially 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.
    Like Bolt, Smith is Jamaican. The youngster acts as a personal trainer for other kids and told the talk show host he believed he could beat the champion in a race.
    "Heres something you don't see very often-@UsainBolt losing a race. This was 1 of my favorite moments from last season," Ellen's tweet said.