People online are accusing the bishop at Aretha Franklin's funeral of 'inappropriately' touching Ariana Grande

Paul Cansya/Getty

The bishop who officiated Aretha Franklin's funeral has apologised after social media users accused him of touching Ariana Grande, who performed, inappropriately.

Bishop Charles H Ellis had greeted the singer after her rendition of (You Make Me Feel Like) A natural Woman, and images of Ellis holding Grande above her waist with his fingers pressed against the side of her chest quickly went viral.


(Picture: Paul Cansya/Getty)

People took to the internet in outrage.

They're calling out the bishop for 'grabbing' her breast.

People also called criticisms levelled against the singer for the length of her dress, misogynistic.

And want to shine light on the very really issue of the objectification of women.

#RespectAriana is trending online.

And woman are saying they have the right to be respected, no matter what they wear.

Respect is non-negotiable.

Ellis later apologised in an interview with Associated Press. He said it would 'never be my intention to touch any woman's breast.'

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 apologise. 

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. 

He added: 'The last thing I want to do is to be a distraction to this day. This is all about Aretha Franklin.'

The pastor also apologised to Grande and the Hispanic community for making a joke about seeing her name on a Taco Bell menu.

I personally and sincerely apologise 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.

Fans are sending messages of support to the 25-year-old's social media account, but she has yet to say anything about what happened.

More: Aretha Franklin 'rejected invite' to perform at Trump inauguration

More: Queen’s Guards honour Aretha Franklin in Respect tribute outside Buckingham Palace

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