Bishop Charles H. Ellis III, the bishop who officiated Aretha Franklin’s funeral is issuing a public apology to Ariana Grande.
Ellis was the target of a slew of social media criticism after video footage of his hand placement went viral. His joke about Grande’s name being an item on Taco Bell’s menu also fell flat.
Details + video below…
After Ariana performed on stage, Ellis awkwardly greeted the singer. Images went viral showing him holding the singer well above her waist, with his fingers pressing against one side of her chest.
What was up with that pastors hand? pic.twitter.com/M8Ypgm7fQB
— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) August 31, 2018
When asked about this incident, the preacher apologized stating,
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 said that during the home going service he hugged everyone and that Grande was no exception:
“I hug all the female artists and the male artists. 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.”
As for the ‘Taco Bell’ joke, Ellis apologized to Grande, her fans and the entire Hispanic community, stating:
“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.
Ellis says that it was never his intention to become a distraction and he was merely trying to bring love to a somber day.
The last thing I want to do is to be a distraction to this day. This is all about Aretha Franklin.