Bishop Charles H. Ellis III, who officiated Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin’s funeral yesterday (Friday, August 31st) made an interesting remark following pop singer Ariana Grande’s commemorative performance of “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” According to Billboard.com:
“I’ve got to apologize because I have to brush up,” Ellis said when he joined the pop star onstage after her performance. “When I saw Ariana Grande on the program, I thought that was a new something at Taco Bell.”
The seemingly jocular comment took an even more offensive turn after video evidence highlighting the pastor groping Grande during the funeral service came to light. Per YouTube user Camila Cabello You Know:
The top YouTube comment sums up the situation well:
0:22- “let me give you all your respect” – as he keeps his hands on her breast. this disgusts me beyond belief. i’m at a loss of words. there is no time or place where anything like this is remotely acceptable, let alone at a funeral. no human being deserves this treatment, especially ariana. that pastor literally went against everything ariana stands for. seeing her try to subtly fight away from him breaks my heart. she didn’t want to turn the attention away from aretha :”( i truly am sickened. i don’t even know what to say. i feel so so bad for her. she doesn’t deserve this.
Commentary on Reddit reinforces the displeasure and objection to Bishop Ellis’ belittling behavior:
It’s clear Ariana does look very uncomfortable during the Bishop’s speech, raising her eyebrows, shaking her head and casting him a sidelong glance of discontent at one point:
Was Bishop Ellis’ behavior out of line, especially after his “Taco Bell menu item” comment? Let us know in the comments.