A new topic began trending this week after footage taken at Aretha Franklin’s funeral showed the officiating pastor getting inappropriately touching singer Ariana Grande.
Grande performed the song “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” at Franklin’s funeral, after which the officiating bishop made what onlookers felt were inappropriate advances towards Grande.
Bishop Charles H. Ellis III reached his arm around Grande’s back and squeezed his fingers into the side of her breast for around 30 seconds.
The funeral was conducted at the Greater Grace Temple on Aug. 31. The ceremony was large and had many big name performers in attendance, such as Grande, Smokey Robinson, Tyler Perry, Jennifer Hudson, former president Bill Clinton, Jesse Jackson, Faith Hill and funk musician Stevie Wonder, who was the final performer at the Detroit funeral.
Millions of outraged people have taken to social media outlets, such as Twitter to express their indignation surrounding the events that transpired.
One Twitter user, @ashleympreston asserted her irritation as she wrote “Misogyny looks like criticizing Ariana Grande for how short her skirt was—but not the fact that Bishop Charles Ellis gave her a mammogram on national television.”
Another viewer wrote about how it wasn’t only the Bishop that acted inappropriately, but also the men who sat behind her as she performed. In stills taken from the video, former president Bill Clinton seemed to be looking at Grande inappropriately from behind.
@summaNOTwinta tweeted “ You can see how she is backing away and her expression looks like she is scared. This is just gross. #RespectAriana.”
Those who argued that Ariana’s dress was indecent for the funeral were quickly slammed by others and accused of promoting rape culture.
Both Grande and Bishop Ellis refused to comment on the situation at first, but Ellis later apologized
“It would never be my intention to touch any woman’s breast,” said Ellis in his apology. “Maybe I crossed the border, maybe I was too friendly or familiar but again, I apologize.”
Aside from the inappropriate touching, people are also scrutinizing Ellis for a racist remark, in which he referred to Ariana Grande’s name as a Taco Bell menu item. “When I saw Ariana Grande on the program, I thought that was a new something a Taco Bell,” said Ellis during the funeral.
Bishop Ellis later apologized for the joke, defending his comments by noting that the funeral was long, and he was just trying to keep things interesting and lively.
Many are now taking to twitter with the hashtag, #RespectAriana as a response.