Ariana Grande and Bishop Charles H. Ellis III

Bishop Charles H. Ellis III found himself in hot water when he got a little randy with pop singer Ariana Grande at Aretha Franklin's star-studded funeral in Detroit on Friday, Aug. 31.

Social media users slammed the Bishop for appearing to fondle the 25-year-old singer after she performed a rendition of Aretha's "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman".

Ellis apologized profusely for inappropriately touching Grande after her performance.

Grande's fans also criticized the Bishop for joking about Grande's name. He told her she thought she was an item on Taco Bell's menu.

“It would never be my intention to touch any woman’s breast. I don’t know I guess I put my arm around her,” he told The Associated Press at the cemetery where Aretha was interred on Friday.

Ellis apologized to Grande, her fans and the Hispanic community.

“"I don’t know I guess I put my arm around her,” he said. "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.

“Maybe I crossed the border, maybe I was too friendly or familiar but again, I apologize.”

Ellis said he hugged all of the female performers during the home going service.

“I hug all the female artists and the male artists. Everybody that was up, I shook their hands and hugged them. That’s what we are all about in the church. We are all about love.”

The embarrassed Bishop added: “The last thing I want to do is to be a distraction to this day. This is all about Aretha Franklin.”

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

  • Trey

    He's a clown....Why he felt the need hug her and still continue to have is arm around her to lead her to the mic was telling.

    The joke about her name was dumb too...

    Do your job and stop being extra

  • Question Everything

    enough said!

  • Robert lee Bennett OG

    Hispanics hate blacks so I guess they are boiling mad about this one.... but the black will get to marching for the Hispanics, hell the black will even riots so those Hispanics can come take blacks jobs...very very strange logic

  • GAPeach

    All people should respect other's personal space. You NEVER touch someone else if you don't know how that will be received.

  • n1kk1a

    Today is my birthday. Only my dad called. ? 35 today.

  • TRUTHbeabsolute

    We need to speak on Jasper Williams as well.

  • MJ

    She's Italian though, not Hispanic...

  • Nathan Hastings

    The good Christians were too busy focusing on the length of her skirt to notice that she was being fondled by the bishop.

  • Nik

    Happy Birthday!! You are in your good years so enjoy every minute of it!
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b4cc8afe453743d7f737839eb92e598f270245845edbfa61e1568957e0f97ba7.gif

  • Elevated Soul

    The best thing about the funeral was Pastor Jasper Williams!He was dropping truth bombs all over the place. He was Aretha's voice because you best believe she gave him an idea what to speak on.RIP to the queen!

    I'm in Boston visiting and I was at a party for my Grandmother and we was bumping all of Aretha's songs....I was even bumping with her on the song "Jump To It". I love all of her music but I have been stuck on the song "Angel".

  • Blaque Mahogany

    The irony is that I truly believe he was trying to be encouraging/welcoming. I think she was self conscious/embarrassed because of her outfit, her performance, and this less than impressed congregation. I don't think he was intentionally groping her. I don't think he even realized it was her chest/breast he was touching. It's a cultural thing (and a generational) thing.

    The joke was inappropriate and corny, but the "groping" was unintentional in my opinion.

  • the guest

    Mr. Hastings, always on point.

  • the guest

    Happy, Beautiful, Blessed Birthday!

  • the guest

    Exactly.

  • Faux Gibbler

    LOL

  • Ebony Starr

    Happy Birthday!

  • http://sandrarose.com SandraRose

    Happy Birthday, hun! I hope you celebrate many more! ????

  • http://sandrarose.com SandraRose

    You're right. I didn't notice where his hand was. ?

  • http://batman-news.com Roderick2011

    Ha,ha,ha!!!

    Misdirection.

  • http://batman-news.com Roderick2011

    Explain to me why a man would hold any woman like that even if she were a complete stranger?

    To me the joke was part of his nervous response after he realized he was holding her like he was.

  • Robert lee Bennett OG

    And the nerve of black folks don’t want to even hear the truth black on black VIOLENCE MUST STOP NOW!!!!

  • Shaylove1975

    Yolanda adams was covered up. Why was the man with the gray hair looking at her behind when she was singing.

  • Robert lee Bennett OG

    She mixed her mom has mestizo blood

  • Robert lee Bennett OG

    Thats common for male pastors to do young women like that why is your mind in the gutter???you think he would fondle that chick in front of a million people

  • dru and neil

    Okay now I’m starting to feel bad for the man. The Taco Bell joke was not racist, “grande” IS on the menu or at least it was five years ago (the last time I ate at that dump). Yes she was pulling away from his grip but I don’t think he realizes how it looked at this point. Besides there were a few odd moments at the fune......why did they pan over to Big Sean while she was performing like it was the damn MTV awards?

  • dru and neil

    I saw her pull at that dress and I was always told if you are trying to pull your skirt down to make it longer you really shouldn’t have worn it to begin with. You’re self conscious.

  • dru and neil

    Only my dad called me on my birthday too last week. Text messages and Facebook messages don’t count to me, do they count to you? Happy Birthday!

  • Fire & Ice

    Happy Birthday!!!!!

  • Wreckognize Game

    Happy Birthday

  • RentEmSpoons

    Pictures are a thousand words.

    That photo with the wording below says alot. Perfect "caption this " photo.

  • KEKE

    Did he also say "cross the border".

  • bemetoo

    lol yep...another jab

  • MsPam

    Yes the Taco Bell was racist! If a Mexican said to a black woman I thought you were a bucket of fried chicken black folks would lose their cotton picking minds.

  • MsPam

    The dress was inappropriate but please stop! I bet half of the audience has daughters, nieces, sisters and cousins that dress like that everyday.

  • MsPam

    And too busy to notice that Bill Clinton was undressing her with his eyes.

  • n1kk1a

    Social media sucks. A genuine phone call means more.? Happy Birthday to you as well!

  • n1kk1a

    Thank you!

  • n1kk1a

    Thank you, Sandra! I m just glad God woke me up this morning!

  • n1kk1a

    Thank you!

  • n1kk1a

    I’m loving it so far. I’m just blessed to have woken up this morning! Thank you!

  • dontgetblocked

    Nice how the media made him the vilian. I truly believe he didn't realize how it looked. Would a pastor really grope a woman on live TV? He was trying! to be cool and thought of her like his daughter. It wasn't that serious. She on the other hand sang horribly and was dressed like a thot at Auntie ReRe's funeral. SMDH

  • TheThrowbackBeauty

    You can’t say black folks and cotton picking. That’s racist ?

  • Lolly Asher

    She has been groomed to smile her way through worse and he knows it. His cover is always the veil people have over their eyes.

  • T3

    Maybe I crossed the border......that tickled me ??

  • Li-Wright

    It wasn't racist joke. People need to reclaim their sense of humor.
    If Dave Chappelle said it, it would be a big laugh.

  • Li-Wright

    Those are OLD preachers. Have you been in the church lately? That's what those old preachers do. They look everybody over 2-3 times.

  • Li-Wright

    If Dave Chappelle had said what Pastor said, everybody would be laughing.

  • Li-Wright

    It's a funeral. He didn't talk about Aretha AT all.

  • Li-Wright

    You don't touch them in 2018! You could touch them in 1958, 1968, 1990, 2000, but not today.

  • Cinnamon Brown

    I have been saying this over and over but nobody has been trying to hear me.. that man wasn’t even trying to feel that lil girl up.. I really think it happened because of the height difference.. this has happened to me before with my taller friends then don’t even realized their hand is on my boob and my boobs are bigger than her whole body.. ?

  • Faithz

    They sure do Pam.

  • Faithz

    They sure do.

  • Li-Wright

    About Aretha's will. What does Incapacitated mean?
    Papers filed in Michigan's Oakland County court last week by David J. Bennett, the lawyer who worked most closely with Franklin, lay out the few known basics:

    She was not married and left four sons, ages 48 to 63: Clarence Franklin, Edward Franklin, Kecalf Franklin and Ted White Jr. Clarence, Aretha's eldest, is incapacitated and is represented by a guardian. And a niece of hers has accepted the role of executor.

  • Li-Wright
  • Faithz

    Ain't that the truth, I was watching those sitting directly behind Her.
    Sharpton, Clinton, Farrakhan,Jackson Ect and the looks on their faces.

  • Faithz

    Did any of You check that One Hat out that was show cased after Jennifer Hudson Performed, or During Jennifer Performance, the Hat was Black, do anybody know who Designed that Bad as Hat.

  • Faithz
  • Kimocha

    It says incapacitated means; "deprived of strength or power; or debilitated".... but wasn't it her oldest, Clarence that sang at her funeral... the Marvin Gaye song??

  • Kimocha

    Oh! You talking about Ms. Cicely Tyson's hat? Yes... it was big as hell... but I liked it too....

  • Kimocha

    Lmao!

  • Kimocha

    That might be true... Dave Chappelle might have gotten away with something like that.... BUT he's a comedian... that's why he would've gotten away with it.... BUT....The bishop is.... THE BISHOP....

  • Kimocha

    Yes... her dress was too short.... But I'm sorry... I DO believe the Bishop was being inappropriate... That FIRM grip he had on her? And how his fingers were PRESSED in on the side of her breast like that?? I was like.... Damn! Wtf?....

  • jeniefrumdabloc™

    did folks really expect anything different in the church house .... it was shade shyt city throughout that entire funeral. . Charlatans .... Jazabels .... demon men getting up speaking .... trash singing faking trying to be seen . .. looks to me this was a full display of what actually happens continuously in the churchhouse.. same scheduled program (display of) wanna be seen... fashion show...... in genuine.... feeling up the young tenderoni .... tenderoni looking like she came from getting her panties slid to the side ... prior to the performance ... shading political Figures when the focus should have been on giving that queen her flowers without the shooting daggers in there.. . I mean all bs aside.... IDGAF about this. .. Aretha we love you bew. .. sorry that people made your celebration a damn spectacle .... smh

  • Ang

    She's not even Mexican. She's Italian. It was not racist. It was a corny joke to lighten the situation after her awful performance that the audience wasn't feeling. That's all.

  • Blaque Mahogany

    I already explained it. If you disagree, that's fine. But, don't act obtuse.

  • Applebootay

    That Part!

  • Ang

    I watched it live and it did not appear that he was trying to be inappropriate with her. I was going back and forth between CNN and HLN. After each performance the newscasters gave their commentorary. No one mentioned anything about him touching her. It was an awkward side hug. What the clip doesn't show is that the audience was not feeling her at all, not just her dress but her performance didn't resonate with anyone. She was trying to scurry off stage because she knew it sucked. When she first came out she had to hold her dress down because it was so short. It was all downhill from there. It seemed like the pastor was trying to to be funny and help her out. He made fun of himself and gave her a compliment then told everyone to stand up and clap for her so she didn't leave in awkward silence. This is another case of twitter blowing things out of proportion as usual and people judging situations based on snippets. Context is key.

  • Applebootay

    I've said by default, because her waste so tiny he could wrap one arm around her entire body easily...now as far as the taco bell comment, that was some coon foolery at its finest

  • Ang

    Thank you! Finally someone being rational. Every major news outlet was showing the funeral live and commenting during the service. If that man had actually tried to grope her there would have instantly been uproar not folks tripping after the fact based on snippets of a video and zoomed in photos. He told a bad "dad joke" and people are making it more than it is. People don't even know what they want to be mad about. They're trying to defend her as a Latina but she's Italian and she's actually clarified that in the past when people got it wrong. It's all ridiculous.

  • Applebootay

    if she was pulling away it shouldn't matter how it looked that's irrelevant if shes pulling away, move your fvking arm.

  • Ang

    People have been calling her Ariana Grande Latte online for years.

  • Li-Wright

    No that was Edward. I often wonder about Teddy Jr. We hear nothing about or from him. He was the only son not living in detroit.

  • DaughterOfaQueen

    I agree, I watched it in real time. It didn't seem like he was trying to be a pervert.

  • Fire & Ice

    You're welcome.....enjoy!

  • dru and neil

    Yes he should have read her body language better, there’s no question about that. And what he did reminded me of how uncomfortable that feels. But the apology is going too far in my opinion. He’s apologizing to the “entire Hispanic community?”

  • dru and neil

    Was the black woman’s last name Church’s, Col Sanders, Popeyes, or London and Sons? Only a few people will know that last reference, but the point is, it wasn’t racist because her last name is Grande! He made reference to Taco Bell because that’s in the menu. Remember “Taco Bell grande?” If her last name was Rodriguez, or Hernandez or Salazar or Medina, etc., and he made the reference, THEN it absolutely would have been racist.

  • 100milesperhour

    Deep.

  • Kimocha

    You're right! He's the one by her first husband... The pimp... Ted White... I don't think I saw all her sons at the funeral... Just 2 of them stood out to me... and they didn't seem to be sitting together either... I wonder if they even are close or get along with each other?

  • Robert lee Bennett OG

    I guess you didn’t even hear it because he did . AND HE SPOKE TO HER BEFORE SHE DIED ABOUT WHAT HE WAS GOING TO SAY GEEZ

  • Ni Ni

    I was on yahoo yesterday seeing what the white folks throught about this issue and to my surprise, most people stated they didn't believe he touched her intentionally and was mostly commenting about her dress instead.

    I watched in real time and went back to watch the video and still didn't see anything inappropriate. Whoever created that still shot did so to cause confusion because she was laughing with him. I wonder if anybody created a still photo when he hugged ms. Tyler or any other black folks, probably not. But, how dare he put his hand on the precious white girl?.

  • Ni Ni

    Aww, that happened to me once, except everyone forgot. I ended up calling to remind them, smh. I dont think they forgot you intentionally folks just have a lot on their minds nowadays.

    Anywhoo, i hope you enjoy your day. Happy Birthday! ????

  • http://batman-news.com Roderick2011

    It wasn't the fact that her waist is tiny it's the fact that he wrapped his arm around a complete stranger and he wouldn't let go even when she was trying to distance herself from him.

    He's a dirty old man.

  • http://batman-news.com Roderick2011

    NiNi: I watched in real time and went back to watch the video and still didn't see anything inappropriate.

    Maybe you need to look again especially the way she was trying to distance herself from him while he still had his grip on her.

    He didn't have to the right to touch her like that because they were complete strangers.

  • Oretta Grace Smith

    If this is "Love" Dismiss Me!!! Either way, He shouldn't had put Himself in This Position. The Good Bishop made it about something other than Aretha's funeral. His maybe, maybe Are Weak!!! You Did, Period.

  • Oretta Grace Smith

    Yes, if she would had mentioned, chicken or watermelon.

  • Oretta Grace Smith

    Because they would have understood Dave As a comedian.

  • noted24

    It wasn't "intentional", see their even making excuses for this man and he's not even their pastor. It shows exactly how misguided and brainwashed the "saints" really are. You even see them making excuses for his dumb joke! You wanna praise this man for making his eulogy as hateful as possible and calling it the truth! Yet, don't want to hold him accountable for his actions. This is a prime example of what goes on in black churches across the nation and is a one of the many reasons people are leaving the church and taking future generations with them.

  • Oretta Grace Smith

    Pedo Perves are random among Catholic Priests. Pedo Perves come in All races!!!

  • Oretta Grace Smith

    Or mention watermelon

  • Oretta Grace Smith

    Chicken, watermelon, Red kool-aid

  • Robert lee Bennett OG

    You are a perv to think what he was doing was intentional

  • Mirella

    I like how most commentators here are shaming Ariana for her dress and her singing and don't even acknowledge that the Bishop was a POS. The apology is almost as insulting as his behavior on stage. The man should be cancelled.

  • Yui
  • smartchickfl

    Thank you! What a disgusting way to make a point.

  • Li-Wright

    I read his comments, I didn't hear him.

  • dru and neil

    There was no racial undertone to the home so what is there to get away with? It was a joke comparing her last name to something on the Taco Bell menu, because her last name is LITERALLY on the Taco Bell menu.

  • mona Stewart

    Plus his wife was sitting not to far from him. She was sitting next to Hillary Clinton

  • mona Stewart

    The incapacitated son supposedly has a mental illness!

  • Mr.LeBrickJames

    I agree. It would make no sense for a pastor to try to "cop a feel" with millions of people watching him on live TV. When I saw it on video, it looked a little awkward to me, but I didn't think he was trying to be a perv.
    But a lot of people have negative preconceived notions about preachers, so they just assume the worst in situations like this.

  • Mr.LeBrickJames

    People might take it as being an anti-Latino jab, but she's Italian anyway, not Latina, so it really shouldn't be an issue.

  • Mr.LeBrickJames

    Yes, he was being politically correct... trying to cover all his bases, since some people were "offended" at what they saw as being an anti-Hispanic comment.
    And she's not even Hispanic, but Italian, but that doesn't even matter to some folk, who seem to always look for stuff to be "outraged" about.

  • Allihave2say

    Each time I see one of these pics my lips peel down. I'm disgusted by sight. He had no need to put his hands on her period. I'm imagining that he does this with women in his church often. Dirty old man.

  • Allihave2say

    Listen I watched a video of a "Pastor" consecrating men into the ministry by humping them. The men laid on the floor on their stomachs. Another man would lay blankets on their back sides. The pastor climbed on top of each man and humped the man's behind. Not one person spoke up, not one man got up and punched him in the mouth, not one parishioner left the church, not one scripture in the Bible states this is biblical. God said, "Shun the mere appearance of sin"
    Take a look:
    https://youtu.be/2KBc1BgU-_I

  • dontgetblocked

    I agree. I have really big boobs and sometimes they hit people by accident. People touch...it's not a big deal.

  • dontgetblocked

    I've always heard that she was Italian. I don't know why people are all of sudden calling her Hispanic.

  • Ang

    People have always assumed she was Hispanic because of her appearance and her name. People forget that Italian and Spanish sound similar. I think she let people assume she was Hispanic until she made it big because it helped her build a fanbase. I noticed on other sites the people who are the most upset didn't even watch the funeral and only saw the little clip and pictures that are going around. Most of them aren't even Ariana fans, they're just jumping on the bandwagon outrage.

  • dru and neil

    I’m especially concerned for the folks who thought that comment was racially motivated and took the comment out of context. I’m worried about their sanity.

  • Solstice

    Happy belated birthday!! ???

  • Solstice

    Happy belated birthday!! ??

  • TheThrowbackBeauty

    ??????????? basketball playin, best dancin, largest male organ havin...

  • dru and neil

    Thanks!

  • Li-Wright

    The more I see tapes from that funeral....the more it occurred to me the seating on the stage was wrong. The women sitting on one side and the men sitting in the middle where the camera was. Not right. And the singers who came on stage were ogled by the preacher men.

  • Zadie Summer-Day

    I wondered the same. He seemed too smooth about it, I doubt it's anything new for him. Who's he doing that to and how young are they? Creepy.

  • MJ

    Edited

  • MJ

    Nail on the head..

  • MJ

    Exactly. Besides the fact that there is no way he should have been that touchy with this young lady. Out of order out the gate. I did see saw between thinking no way(who would do this so blantantly) and thinking ‘but I’m seeing this with my own eyes’ finally I settled on that there’s no way he didn’t realize his hands were pressing into her breasts. Repeatedly. If I have my hands around a woman’s waist..I would DEFINITELY realize if my hands were on her breast.
    He was simply counting on that if someone noticed..they wouldn’t be able to believe it was intentional.

  • Jussjess25

    I initially jumped on this bandwagon but then I had to think back to the narrative that white society wants to paint of black men. Smh he did not fondle that girl and if he did she would have been hollering and yelling it at the top of his lungs.

  • the chosen one

    Lmfao

  • Luvn_it

    He should've never had his hand on that part of her body. He could touch her shoulder or better yet not at all,and he must've not known Arianna is Italian not Hispanic.

  • Alextra Ballard

    I was hoping nothing would over shadow the Queens funeral. The service was supposed to be dignified and without controversy. But along came Bishop Ellis,Rere's long time "friend". Nowadays you can find anything and anybody in some of these Churches. Even a Pervert inda Pulpit!

  • http://sandrarose.com SandraRose

    Pastor Morton preached!

  • Shira Harding-James

    He said over the “border” ?
    He apologized with another insult!!!

  • Shira Harding-James

    I’m totally grossed out yuck

  • Oretta Grace Smith

    At age 58, that Is Far from, "a child." That is not just based on age. I see You have lots of Letters, like a preschool child, that Doesn't equal a sentence, maybe a short phrase. Again I state, pedophiles Come in All races. That includes Blacks as you stated. I'm just extending what's out there. I agree it is a major Problem among Black Preachers.

  • Malcom Flex

    Caping and riding for a lil dope head white female what about all the Black kids getting perved in church?!

  • Trace da Ace

    The embarrassed Bishop added: “The last thing I want to do is to be a distraction to this day. This is all about Aretha Franklin.”
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    ALL OF THIS!! Damn...bottom line is this was a homecoming service for Areatha.....now it seems like folks are trying to pick apart the damn service pointing out stuff that they feel is "wrong"....I'm sure the Bishop did not mean to grab her itty bitty titty....it was not intentional...he apologized...move on....

  • http://www.4flavorsofmecreolemami.com/?m=1 ?4FlavorsOfMe ?????CreoleMami?

    Touched that girl more than a few times them fingers were just moving smh a dam DISGRACE and then ppl from the congregation have the nerve to say what she had on provoked it... yeah it was all jokes and laughs cause she wore a short dress and all of the elders was probably going to talk about her or pull her aside for it etc etc but lets be real nothing nobody wear should = them to being felt up or harrassed or sexually exploited... if she walked in that bih naked nobody should had touched her period.... nasty ass pastors make my skin itch... ppl who take up for this type of behavior probably has had it done to them or is having it done to them and they have been told it is "normal" aint nothing about this bs is normal...

  • http://www.4flavorsofmecreolemami.com/?m=1 ?4FlavorsOfMe ?????CreoleMami?

    !!!!! say THAT

  • Eileen

    this real little girl thought he was at a conert instead of a funeral. No decorum whatsoeva

  • Eileen

    overshadow are you kidding me! with all of those attention seeking folks trying to see who can outsing who and the women coming in tight dresses up to their rooti tuts ( ms. Lil grande) what do you expect? it was a show a real live show

  • Allihave2say

    Girl! Why didn't these men deal with this matter. I bet they shiver every time they remember this foolish they let be done on them. If they were smart, they would file sexual assault charges.

  • Alextra Ballard

    You are right on point! It was a straight fiasco!

  • Eileen

    Good night you said a mouthful...and sadly it's all true

  • Eileen

    Happy Birthday

  • BloodBlood

    If I was hosting a 9 hour funeral I would've touched a titty or 2 ??