Following widespread social media backlash, Bishop Charles H. Ellis III responded by apologizing for the way he introduced and greeted singer Ariana Grande at Friday’s memorial service for singer Aretha Franklkn.
The fiercest criticism came in response to several videos and still images apparently showing the faith leader’s hand grabbing the 25-year-old pop star’s breast.
In his statement, Ellis acknowledged that he might have “crossed the border” and acted “too friendly or familiar” with Grande.
“It would never be my intention to touch any woman’s breast,” he added, noting that he hugged men and woman who joined him on stage.
He also apologized for a joke about Grande’s name that many found racially insensitive.
“When I saw Ariana Grande on the program, I thought that was a new something at Taco Bell,” he said.
Ellis apologized for any distraction he caused in the memorial service
“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.”
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