Bishop Charles H. Ellis III is apologizing after he was criticized for how he touched singer Ariana Grande, as well as a joke he made about her name during Aretha Franklin’s funeral.
The bishop, who officiated the service, was just one of the reasons Grande went viral on Friday, as she was criticized as well for her dress being too short and for bringing Pete Davidson with her to the memorial.
But let’s start with Ellis, who came under fire for appearing to touch her inappropriately after her performance of (“You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” Those watching the service quickly took to Twitter to sound off on how uncomfortable she appeared as he held onto her above her waist.
“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.”
He also said he was sorry for offending anyone with his joke comparing her name to something you’d find on the menu at Taco Bell. “I personally and sincerely apologize to Ariana and to her fans and to the whole Hispanic community,” he told the AP. “When you’re doing a program for nine hours you try to keep it lively, you try to insert some jokes here and there.”