Ellen Degeneres shared a meme on Twitter Monday that provoked widespread outrage and accusations of racism.
The photoshopped image featured the daytime television host riding on the back of Olmypic running legend Usain Bolt of Jamaica.
"This is how I’m running errands from now on," the post read.
The meme was a parody of the viral image captured while Bolt was running the men's 100-meter race Sunday. In the photo, the runner appears to be mugging for the cameras as he sprints to the finish.
Many found the original photo to be a humorous yet realistic depiction of Bolt's simultaneously competitive and lighthearted charisma. Degeneres' meme, however, was met with hostility.
@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
Twitter user @iyonah tweeted, "an apology won't do. This is utterly f***ing ridiculous. How dare you!?!?"
Another wrote, "Dear @TheEllenShow: Whatever intern thought this tweet was a good idea should be fired. Immediately."
Some, however, defended the celebrity host.
@TheEllenShow People are truly reaching farrrrrrr on this one! I'm blacker than black black and I am not offended by this joke/meme at all!— Sugga (@picklesandpears) August 16, 2016
Following the flood of mostly virulent comments, DeGeneres posted on Twitter Tuesday to assert that she is not racist, telling her followers, "I am highly aware of the racism that exists in our country. It is the furthest thing from who I am."
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 Bolt, who was a guest on "Ellen" last season, clearly was not bothered by the image. He even retweeted the meme.