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Bishop Ellis III Speaks Out After Groping Ariana Grande

When people look tense and pull away from you, maybe, just maybe you’re making them uncomfortable.

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After Ariana Grande tributed the Queen of Soul with a moving rendition of “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” pastor Charles H. Ellis III called the singer onstage. As the church leader joked with Grande, he wrapped his hand around her high above the waist. Social media was quick to defend Ariana Grande after the star appeared to be groped during Aretha Franklin’s funeral.

Footage of the incident made its rounds across Twitter, and users were quick to call out the bishop. The hashtag #RespectAriana quickly emerged in support of the star.

The pastor apologized on Friday in an interview with The Associated Press.

“It would never be my intention to touch any woman’s breast. … I don’t know I guess I put my arm around her,” Ellis said. “Maybe I crossed the border, maybe I was too friendly or familiar but again, I apologize.”

Ellis continued to say that did not treat Grande any different than other 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.”

Ellis also apologized for joking about seeing Grande’s name on the program and thinking it was a new Taco Bell food item. “I personally and sincerely apologize to Ariana and to her fans and to the whole Hispanic community.”

However, the apology didn’t stop Twitter users from continuing to express their anger.

Twitter users were also quick to call out each other for commenting on the length of Ariana Grande’s dress rather than the Bishop’s conduct.

Of course, the idea that Ariana’s dress was the problem was quickly shut down.

 

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Arianna is College Media Network's Weekend Editor and a student at Penn State University. She has written for various websites, including Thought Catalog and The Odyssey Online. Arianna also runs her own blog called Yoga With Mimosas in which she combines her passion for fitness and writing in hopes of inspiring and empowering others through her work.

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