Aretha Franklin’s funeral, as beautiful and heartbreaking as it was, it did not end without scandal. Bishop Charles H. Ellis II, the one who officiated the late singer’s service, was accused of inappropriately making a joke about Ariana Grande’s name as well as groping her! As a result, the man decided to address the outrage and apologize.
After Ariana performed one of Aretha’s biggest hits, Natural Woman, Ellis took some time to speak with her.
But while doing so, the Bishop stood way too close, grabbing Ariana tight around her small waist, his arm snaking to the front where it could press against her right breast.
He now tells Associated Press about his actions that ‘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.’
Ellis went on to claim that he simply hugged her like he did everyone else present at the funeral.
‘I hug all the female artists and the male artists. Everybody who was up, I shook their hand and hugged them. That is 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.’
But that was not all he apologized for as his joke about thinking Ariana Grande was a Taco Bell menu item was not well received either.
‘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.’
The Bishop’s response to the backlash comes after the #RespectAriana went viral on Twitter.