Instead of being a celebration of “The Queen of Soul,” late singer Aretha Franklin’s funeral Friday devolved into an inappropriate spectacle thanks to two people: Horndog former President Bill Clinton and a famous Detroit-based bishop by the name of Charles H. Ellis III. Unlike Clinton’s antics, however, the bishop’s behavior didn’t seem to be intentional.
Ellis’s faux pas occurred after 25-year-old pop sensation and terror attack survivor Ariana Grande sang a rendition of Franklin’s 1967’s classic hit, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” As Ellis, who was leading the funeral, greeted Grande afterward, he placed his right arm around her and positioned his hand well above her waist, right next to her right breast.
He then made a joke about not recognizing Grande’s name: “When I saw Ariana Grande on the program, I thought that was a new something at Taco Bell.”
“Oh my god,” Grande replied in laughter as Ellis hugged her.
Because of some backlash on social media, Ellis promptly apologized for his faux pas during an interview a bit later in the day 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. Maybe I crossed the border, maybe I was too friendly or familiar but again, I apologize.”
He added that he hugged every performer at the service, saying, “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.”
Ellis also apologized for the Taco Bell joke, though it’s unclear whether anyone had actually taken offense to it: “I personally and sincerely apologize to Ariana and to her fans and to the whole Hispanic community. When you’re doing a program for nine hours you try to keep it lively, you try to insert some jokes here and there,” he said.
Some of the backlash over what some have described as his “groping” of Grande may be seen below:
Looks like Bishop Charles H. Ellis III was improperly groping Ariana Grande during #ArethaHomegoing.
— Ernest Owens (@MrErnestOwens) September 1, 2018
why was that old man bishop groping Ariana and why has it not been taken seriously
— Jamie Curry (@jaamiecurry) September 1, 2018
I’m so disgusted what I’ve seen. Bishop Charles H. Ellis was seen Inappropriately groping Ariana Grande. Give respect for Ariana, give respect for all every women in the world #RespectAriana pic.twitter.com/HBrI0GIwWg
— Drei?? Cpfamily | Lovatics (@Sheyndrey) September 1, 2018
@ArianaGrande I hope you will be suing that man for groping u on stage like that. That “BISHOP”wtf is a pos and should be gone
— trump won (@seand2166) September 1, 2018
The Bishop should lose his job after doing this to Ariana. Groping a woman (especially a person in charge of a church) is never ever ok?https://t.co/45kYFSLPvm
— DJ-K (Kenji) ? (@Deejay_K88) September 1, 2018
I’m actually mortified by the video of that bishop groping Ariana. I can’t even read the words without getting triggered istg
— clit eastwood (@duchessthegoat) September 1, 2018
I’m disgusted by the images I’m seeing of Bishop Ellis groping Ariana. They were behind the podium, so I didn’t catch it live,
Let me be clear: I don’t give a damn what anyone wears, that typa handling is never ok.
I really hope she’s alright.
— Books and ‘Beautiful Gowns’ (@AmbreLynae) September 1, 2018
The backlash against Clinton has been similar. Multiple photos from the funeral showed Clinton repeatedly oogling Grande just like he once oogled President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka.
— The NY Evening (@TheNYevening) September 1, 2018
If your significant other doesn’t look at you the same way Bill Clinton looks at Ariana Grande…oh wait pic.twitter.com/k3JXNL35oW
— Caitlin Tierney (@KatieTierneyH) September 1, 2018
There was also some video too:
The backlash can be seen below:
Some things never change. Bill Clinton has become a meme again after oogling Ariana Grande while she sang at another Aretha Franklin memorial.
— DJ Northway (@djnorthway) August 31, 2018
CREEPY! Bill Clinton Can’t Stop Checking Out 25-Year Old Ariana Grande During Aretha Franklin Memorial https://t.co/VyYg0AdUZ4 HE’S NOTHING BUT A SICK PERVERT!!
— TERRIBERRI1 (@TBERRI01) September 1, 2018
What a disgusting human being.
Creepy Bill Clinton looked like the nasty lecherous pervert he is as he was checking out Ariana Grande’s backside at Aretha Franklin’s funeral.
— T. V. (@tanyakv) September 1, 2018
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