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Ellen DeGeneres Denies Racism Behind Usain Bolt Back-Riding Controversy

Talk-show host drew fire for photo of her riding Olympian’s back

Ellen DeGeneres has a message for the world, or at least her social media critics: Get off her back.

The talk show host responded on Twitter after being raked over the coals for posting an image of herself riding on black Olympian Usain Bolt’s back, insisting that racism was the furthest thing from her mind when she published the photo.

“I am highly aware of the racism that exists in our country,” DeGeneres tweeted. “It is the furthest thing from who I am.”

DeGeneres drew widespread wrath on social media after posting a photo on her Twitter account featuring Usain Bolt on Monday.

“This is how I’m running errands from now on,” the talk show host captioned the image, in which she is Photoshopped onto Bolt’s back during the men’s 100-meter dash at the Rio Olympics.

Reaction to the photo was strong, and not particularly positive.

“So the first thing that pops in your head when looking at this pic is ‘oh let me jump onto his back like he’s a common mule?'” one DeGeneres critic tweeted.

“This is so gross. Fire whoever did this,” seethed another.

The original post remains on DeGeneres’ Twitter account.

DeGeneres’ spokesperson was not available when TheWrap sought comment earlier Tuesday.