After inappropriately touching Ariana Grande following her performance at Aretha Franklin’s funeral last week, Bishop Charles H. Ellis, who officiated the service, has apologized.
“It would never be my intention to touch any woman’s breast,” Ellis said in a statement. “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. I hug all the female artists and male artists. Everybody that was up, I shook their hands and hugged them. That’s what we are all about in the church.”
After Grande performed Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” Ellis greeted the singer in uncomfortable fashion. He put his arm around her and appeared to press his hand against the side of her breast. During the gesture, he joked that he thought her name was a new item on the Taco Bell menu.
Ellis also apologized for his comments about Grande’s name: “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.” (h/t Variety)