DETROIT (AP) — The bishop who officiated Aretha Franklin’s funeral is apologizing to Ariana Grande for how he touched her onstage and a joke he made about her name.
Bishop Charles H. Ellis III led Franklin’s funeral on Friday and awkwardly greeted Grande on stage after she performed “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.”
Images of the moment showed Ellis’ hand holding Grande well above her waist, with his fingers pressing against one side of her chest.
Ellis tells The Associated Press that while “it would never be my intention to touch anyone’s breast,” perhaps he “crossed a border.”
He says he did not want to be a distraction on a day that belonged to Franklin.
Ellis also apologized to Grande, her fans and Hispanic community for making a joke about seeing her name on the program and thinking it was a new item on the Taco Bell menu.