Bishop Charles H. Ellis II who officiated Aretha Franklin’s funeral has apologized after being accused of groping Ariana Grande and making a joke about her name.
Bishop Charles H. Ellis II, who was accused of groping Ariana Grande at Aretha Franklin’s funeral, has apologized. Ellis officiated the Queen of Soul’s service in Detroit, Michigan on Aug. 31 and after Ariana performed one of Aretha’s biggest hits, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” he took a moment to speak with her and held his hand around her waist while doing so with his fingers pressed against her chest.
“It would never be my intention to touch any woman’s breast. … I don’t know I guess I put my arm around her,” he said to the Associated Press at the cemetery where Aretha was buried. “Maybe I crossed the border, maybe I was too friendly or familiar but again, I apologize.” He added that he hugged all of the performers at the touching funeral. “I hug all the female artists and the male artists,” Ellis continued. “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.”
Moments of Ellis’ affection toward Ariana went viral on Twitter along with the hashtag #RespectAriana. In addition to apologizing for the groping accusation, Ellis apologized for a joke he made about seeing Ariana’s name on the program for Aretha’s service and thinking it was an item on a Taco Bell menu. “I personally and sincerely apologize to Ariana and to her fans and to the whole Hispanic community,” he said. “When you’re doing a program for nine hours you try to keep it lively, you try to insert some jokes here and there.”