Aretha Franklin fans say Fox News Channel disrespected the queen of soul when they used an image of R&B legend Patti LaBelle in a tribute to Aretha who died Thursday at her Detroit area home after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
In a tribute package that Fox News aired on Thursday, producers placed an image of Patti LaBelle, 74, above the dates of Aretha’s birth and death.
Sharp-eyed social media users accused the right-wing news network of disrespecting the 76-year-old musical icon.
“The dis-R-E-S-P-E-C-T. That’s really Patti LaBelle in the corner,” one fan wrote on Twitter. The fact that Aretha held a long grudge against Patti only added insult to injury.
The image generated an avalanche of angry messages on social media, forcing Fox News to issue an apology on Friday morning.
“We sincerely apologize to Aretha Franklin’s family and friends,” Fox News Vice President Jessica Santostefano said in a statement, obtained by Variety magazine.
“Our intention was to honor the icon using a secondary image of her performing with Patti LaBelle in the full screen graphic, but the image of Ms. Franklin was obscured in that process, which we deeply regret.”
On Thursday Patti tweeted her own moving tribute to the “Say a Little Prayer” singer.
“I am deeply saddened about the passing of the Queen of Soul and my sister in song, Aretha Franklin. Aretha was a rare treasure whose unmatched musical genius helped craft the soundtrack to the lives of so many. My sympathy, love and prayers go out to her family, loved ones and fans around the globe.”