A senior pastor of a mega church in Detroit, accused of groping singer Ariana Grande on Friday at Aretha Franklin's funeral, apologizes.
"It would never be my intention to touch a woman's breast," said the pastor. Bishop Charles H. Ellis III, told the Associated Press. "Maybe I came over the border, maybe I was too friendly or trustworthy, but again I apologize."
wife. Grande was one of several actors at the funeral in the Greater Grace Temple, which paid tribute to " Queen of Soul". She had just sung one of Ms. Franklin's hits: "You Make Me Feel Like) A natural woman," but when she started to leave the stage, Ms. Grande was called back by the bishop.
When I saw Ariana Grande on the program, I thought that was something new at Taco Bell, "he said, putting his arm around her waist while his fingers were pressed into the right side of her chest for more than 30 seconds Ms. Grande laughed. (Her fourth album, "Sweetener," has led the billboard charts for three weeks in a row.)
"Girl, let me show you all your respect," he said, hugging her in a hug.
"Did you all enjoy this icon? "He asked the crowd, referring to Mrs. Grande's performance." She herself is an icon. "
For many, there was no question what had just happened.
" I do not care what you say Ariana Grande, her music or her dress. That's wrong. The bishop's hand should not be on her chest, "wrote author Mona Eltahawy on Twitter, her post accompanied by a video of the episode that has been seen more than two million times.
Spectators, dismayed by the pastor's joke and His hug responded on Twitter with the hashtag #RespectAriana, which started the trend.
Neither the pastor nor the representatives of Mrs Grande responded immediately to a request for comment on Saturday, but Bishop Ellis' official Twitter Account published an interview with the AP in the cemetery where Franklin was buried.
Bishop Ellis said that the "last thing" he wanted distracted from the service and added that he embraced all the performers.
"I hug all the female artists and the male artists," Bishop Ellis told the AP. Everyone who was up shook their hands and hugged them. That's what the church is about. We are about love.
On Twitter, those who suggested Ms. Grande should have picked a more appropriate dress.
"Look, maybe it's just a joke that went awry," he said, "but if you do Doing a program for nine hours, you know, you're trying to keep it alive, you're trying to make some funny references, and what do you have? "
" If you looked at it as an insulting statement, I apologize. " he said.