Justin Gatlin was subjected to boos and jeers from the crowd inside London Stadium as he was presented with his 100m World Championships gold medal.
The American, who has twice served a doping ban, pulled off a shock win on Saturday to end Usain Bolt’s reign in the Jamaican’s final individual race.
Bolt received cheers as he was awarded his bronze, but there were sections of the crowd that booed Gatlin.
The 30-year-old Jamaican applauded Gatlin as he was presented with gold.
American six-time individual world sprint champion Michael Johnson said his compatriot had been cast as a “villain” by the media who he said had ignored other cheats.
The 49-year-old told BBC Sport: “At London 2012 nobody booed Gatlin [he won bronze in the 100m final]. When he started getting close to Bolt at the 2015 World Championships we created this narrative.
“We didn’t educate people about all the drugs cheats. I think we have presented him as a villain. I think we need to do a better job of educating all of what has been going on.”
Fellow BBC athletics commentator Steve Cram, the 1983 1500m world champion, said: “Because Gatlin is in our faces a lot more than a guy who is 12th in the discus, he’s had more coverage than most. Inevitably, he has become the villain.”
Earlier, International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president Lord Coe, who had presented the medals, told BBC Radio 5 live’s Sportsweek that Gatlin’s victory was “not the perfect script”.
“I’m not eulogistic that someone who has served two bans has walked off with one of our glittering prizes,” he said.
“But he is eligible to be here.”
Bolt had been favourite to secure his 20th global gold in the final major championships of his glittering career, but the three-time 100m Olympic champion finished with bronze, behind Gatlin and his USA team-mate Christian Coleman.
Gatlin was booed by the crowd as he celebrated, but was embraced by Bolt on the finish line.
Coe added: “It’s not the perfect script. I thought Usain was very generous with the observations he made.
“That must have been a bitter event for him to swallow. He was bigger than the moment and it typifies his career.”