Ellen DeGeneres Responds to Accusations of Racism Over Usain Bolt Meme

Oof. Photo: Getty Images

Ellen DeGeneres has heard your concerns and would like you to know she’s not, in fact, a racist. On Monday, the daytime host literally jumped on the Usain Bolt meme bandwagon, posting a picture of herself being carried on the Olympic track icon’s back while she “runs errands.” After many accused the meme of being racially insensitive, Ellen has now tweeted her defense of the meme, implying that she understands the historical context and meant no offense.

This isn’t the first time Ellen has come under fire for making what’s been perceived as a tone-deaf joke. Last year, she aired a sketch on Ellen that depicted a black family — including their dog — whose butts were so comically enlarged that they get in the way of even the simplest tasks, like sitting on a couch together to watch TV. It was meant to be a parody of Nicki Minaj’s upcoming Freeform sitcom about her childhood, but most viewed the bit as either tasteless or little more than modern-day minstrelsy. (The video is no longer available on her site.) Ellen had previously dressed up as Minaj for Halloween — an image that Minaj shared on her own Instagram — and parodied her “Anaconda” video.

Ellen DeGeneres Responds to Bolt Meme Backlash