Ellen Degeneres has defended herself on Twitter after she was accused of racism over a meme she shared featuring Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt. DeGeneres posted the meme on Monday and overnight she found herself at the center of a social media controversy, leading her to address the issue the next day.

DeGeneres had posted a photoshopped version of an image of Bolt smiling, as he sprinted to victory in the men's 100m semifinal at the Olympics in Rio. She had placed herself on the back of the gold medalist with the caption, "This is how I'm running errands from now on."

While Bolt himself retweeted the post, others quickly pointed out the negative connotations of a white woman being pictured using a black man as a form of transportation.

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“Despite its intentions this pic has ugly connotations comin from a rich white lady,” tweeted one user. Another told her: “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?'"

But many other users came to DeGeneres’ defence, pointing out that throughout her career she has been vocal against discrimination and social injustice. The tweet has since been retweeted over 33,000 times and favourited over 80,000 times.

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Despite the controversy DeGeneres hasn't deleted the post and on Tuesday she addressed the backlash. "I am highly aware of the racism that exists in our country,” she tweeted. “It is the furthest thing from who I am."

On Tuesday the talk show host also celebrated her and wife Portia de Rossi’s eighth wedding anniversary. Sharing a photo of the couple together she wrote: “Best thing I ever did. #8years #HappyAnniversary”.