Hundreds of mourners gathered to send of the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin on Friday. Among the star-studded lineup of performers was Ariana Grande who performed “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” on stage.
Once she was done, Bishop Charlies H. Ellis III grabbed Grande in an embrace and made the joke that her name sounded like something off the Taco Bell menu. While viewers made mention of Grande’s short dress, others made note of the fact that the Bishop’s hand was in a rather inappropriate place.
In a statement to the Associated Press, Bishop Ellis is apologizing for his hand placement. “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. “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 added. “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.” Bishop Ellis also stressed that he didn’t want to end up becoming a distraction, as “this is all about Aretha Franklin.”
Bishop Ellis also apologized for comparing Grande’s name to a Taco Bell item.
“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.”
Grande has not responded to his apology.