Bishop Apologizes For Groping Ariana Grande


The bishop who officiated Aretha Franklin’s funeral in Detroit Friday apologized to Ariana Grande after accidentally groping the singer onstage during the ceremony.

After Grande sang “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” bishop Charles H. Ellis III greeted her with an awkward one-armed embrace where Ellis’ hand was seen holding the singer above her waist while pressing his fingers into the side of her breast.

Ellis later apologized in a statement to The Associated Press

“It would never be my intention to touch any woman’s breast. … I don’t know I guess I put my arm around her,” Ellis said in the statement. “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. 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.”

MORE: Aretha Franklin Remembered At Detroit Funeral

To add to the awkward moment, Ellis also apologized to the Sweetener singer, her fans, and the Hispanic community after he made a joke about her name, admitting he thought it was “a new something at Taco Bell” when he read it on the program.

"I personally and sincerely apologize to Ariana and to her fans and to the whole Hispanic community," Ellis 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.”