The Bishop, leading the ceremony at Detroit’s Greater Grace Temple, made an untasteful joke about Grande’s name by likening it to a fast food product: “I’ve got to apologise because I have to brush up,” he said into the microphone. “When I saw Ariana Grande on the program, I thought that was a new something at Taco Bell,” he added.
Feminist author Mona Eltahaway, Tweeted: “I don’t care what you think about Ariana Grande, her music or her dress. This is wrong. That bishop’s hand should not be on her breast.”
Now, Bishop Charles H Ellis III has apologised.
“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.
“Maybe I crossed the border, maybe I was too friendly or familiar but again, I apologise.”
“I hug all the female artists and the male artists,” Ellis said. “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 apologised for the joke about Grande’s name, saying: “I personally and sincerely apologise to Ariana and to her fans and to her whole community.
“When you’re doing a programme for nine hours you try to keep it lively, you try to insert some jokes here and there.”
I don’t care what you think about Ariana Grande, her music or her dress. This is wrong. That bishop’s hand should not be on her breast: I just saw this because I’ve been working and not watching pic.twitter.com/ixVhgYBJTN