Bishop Apologises For Way He Touched Ariana Grande At Aretha Franklin's Funeral

Bishop Charles H. Ellis III has apologised after being criticised for the way he touched singer Ariana Grande at the funeral of late soul singer Aretha Franklin.

He also made a joke about her name, comparing it to something you'd find on the menu at Taco Bell.


"It would never be my intention to touch any woman's breast," he told the Associated Press after the complaints surfaced. "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."

"I hug all the female artists and the male artists," he continued, saying he hugged everyone throughout the service. "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."

Addressing his joke about Grande's name, he continued: "I personally and sincerely apologize to Ariana and to her fans and to the whole Hispanic community.

Ellis added: "When you're doing a program for nine hours you try to keep it lively, you try to insert some jokes here and there."

Bishop Ellis wasn't the only one to come under fire for how he responded to Grande.

Many people spotted that former US president Bill Clinton also seemed to be staring at her while she belted out '(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman'.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Tweeting a photo of the moment, one person tweeted: "Gross... Watch Bill Clinton look Ariana Grande up and down when she sings at #ArethaFranklinFuneral and try not to throw up in your mouth."

Another wrote: "Bill #Clinton appeared mesmerized by vocalist Ariana Grande's rear end as she took the stage to honor soul singer Aretha Franklin."

Clinton gave a moving tribute to Franklin, who passed away aged 76 on 16 August, following a battle with advanced pancreatic cancer.

He said: "We started out not as President and First Lady, but as Aretha groupies or something.

"This woman got us all in these seats here today not because she had this breathtaking talent, not because she grew up a princess of soul, but because she lived with courage. Not without fear, but overcoming her fears.

"She lived with faith... she lived with power. I just loved her," he said. "The secret of her greatness was she took this massive talent, and this perfect culture that raised her, and decided to be the composer of this massive song."

He closed his speech by saying: "She cared about broken people, she cared about people who were disappointed... about people who didn't succeed as much as she did.

"And she worked her can off to get where she was. She took the gifts God gave her, and they just kept getting a little bigger every day."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Jess Hardiman

Jess Hardiman is a journalist who graduated from Manchester University with a BA in Film Studies, English Language and Literature, and has previously worked for Time Out and The Skinny among others.

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