Bishop Apologizes for Inappropriately Touching Ariana Grande at Funeral

By  | 

Aretha Franklin‘s August 31 funeral was a star-studded event. Bill Clinton, Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Hudson and more were in attendance for the late singer‘s farewell ceremony, including Ariana Grande.

The pop singer was invited to perform a rendition of Aretha’s famous song, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and, as always, SLAYED. But it was what happened after the performance that got people talking.

Right after the 25-year-old was done singing, Bishop Charles H. Ellis III hugged her and guided her over to the pulpit. As he was talking into the microphone, he put his hand on the side of Ari’s breast and didn’t let go. The musician was visibly uncomfortable during the encounter, but she didn’t have much choice except to stand there and keep her cool.

The entire event was broadcasted live, so it wasn’t long before people started talking about what the heck just happened. Clips of the incident started circulating online, and fans of both Ariana and Aretha alike were furious. Some even started the Twitter hashtag #RespectAriana.

The next day, the Bishop talked to the Associated Press and apologized for his behavior. He said, “It would never be my intention to touch any woman’s breast. I don’t know, I guess I put my arm around her. Maybe I crossed the border, maybe I was too friendly or familiar but again, I apologize.”

He claimed he acted that way with everyone that day.

“I hug all the female artists and the male artists,” he explained. “Everybody that was up, I shook their hands and hugged them. That’s what we are all about in the church. We are all about love. The last thing I want to do is to be a distraction to this day. This is all about Aretha Franklin.”

Bishop Ellis also apologized for making a joke about AG’s name by saying he thought it was a new item on the Taco Bell menu. A lot of people thought it was offensive, especially considering Ariana is Italian, not Mexican.

He told the news outlet, “I personally and sincerely apologize to Ariana and to her fans and to the whole Hispanic community. When you’re doing a program for nine hours you try to keep it lively, you try to insert some jokes here and there.”

Despite the apology, many people don’t think it’s enough. Ariana hasn’t spoken out about the incident yet, but she did like this Instagram comment that acknowledges it.