The bishop who officiated Aretha Franklin’s funeral, Charles H. Ellis III, issued an apology for inappropriately touching performer Ariana Grande. Accompanied by her fiancé Pete Davidson, Grande attended the ceremony in Detroit and performed one of Franklin’s signature hits, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” After Grande’s performance, Ellis brought her to the podium, where he cracked a joke about her name sounding like a Taco Bell menu item and had his fingers pressed against one side of her chest.
The preacher has apologized in an interview with 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, adding: "Maybe I crossed the border, maybe I was too friendly or familiar but again, I apologize."
He added: “The last thing I want to do is to be a distraction to this day. This is all about Aretha Franklin.”
Ellis also apologized to Grande, her fans and Hispanic community for joking about her name.
"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."