On Sunday night, Usain Bolt not only won a gold medal in the 100 meter final at the Rio Olympics, but he also gave us one of the all-time greatest sports photographs. Getty photographer Cameron Spencer strategically set himself up to take this picture, knowing that he’d have only “a moment to capture this epic Olympic moment,” and sure enough… history was made twice in one event. The photo is wonderful and we will certainly be seeing it for many years in celebrations of Bolt’s phenomenal career.
Unfortunately, it took less than a day for the photo to become the focus of controversy. Talk show host and beloved comedian Ellen DeGeneres is known to drop a funny photoshop or two on her fans at any given time, and she’s always up to speed on the current internet fads. So, when people fell in love with Spencer’s photo of Bolt, DeGeneres seized the moment to make her 61 million Twitter followers laugh.
Harmless or racist? That’s the new game we should be watching on Ellen, as the responses to that tweet show that not everyone enjoyed a simple laugh over the fact that Bolt is insanely fast. Let’s just sample a few responses so as not to let our souls be entirely devoured…
And there are plenty more. It’s necessary to point out that the outrage is not universal and many people see the tweet as harmless.
Oh, and Bolt retweeted it as well, if that sways your vote at all. Alas, DeGeneres is wise to the outrage, and so she responded on Tuesday.
If only we could all learn a lesson of peace and tolerance from Selfie Cat and Camouflage Dog.