As tributes poured in to the “Queen of Soul,” singer Aretha Franklin, who died on Thursday at age 76, as Inquisitr reported, one news outlet made an embarrassing error as it attempted to memorialize the star. That news outlet was Fox News, a network whose audience is 94 percent white, as Inquisitr has documented.
Fox News botched the tribute to Franklin by broadcasting a photograph of an entirely different African-American singer, Patti LaBelle, and identifying her as Franklin, as the media industry news site Mediaite noticed shortly after the error occurred. LaBelle, whose real name is Patricia Holt, is 74-years-old and is still an active music performer. She is perhaps best known for her 1974 hit single “Lady Marmalade,” recorded with her “girl group” simply called LaBelle.
LaBelle herself honored Franklin on Thursday, posting a message to her own Twitter account.
“I am deeply saddened about the passing of the Queen of Soul and music sister in song, Aretha Franklin….Aretha was a rare treasure whose unmatched musical genius helped craft the soundtrack to the lives of so many,” she tweeted.
Fox News claimed that the photo of LaBelle actually depicted Franklin and LaBelle performing together, but Franklin was “obscured.” The network apologized for the mistake, according to a report by the Huffington Post.
But users on Twitter were quick to pounce on the Fox News blunder, including an account dedicated to “Bad Fox Graphics.”
1/ It's understandable that @FoxNews would use a photo of @MsPattiPatti Labelle to announce Aretha Franklin's death. It sure is confusing, because they're both…uhh…excellent singers. ????♀️— Bad Fox Graphics (@BadFoxGraphics) August 16, 2018
[h/t @Phil_Lewis_] pic.twitter.com/FuC7miT3i2
The Bad Fox Graphics account also noted that Fox’s excuse that Franklin was “obscured” in the image of LaBelle did not hold water, because at the 2014 White House “Women of Soul” performance that was the source of the photo, LaBelle and Franklin did not perform together. Though both iconic soul singers were in attendance and sang at the event, LaBelle sat in the audience as Franklin performed.
Indeed, the Associated Press photo below that was used by Fox News reveals that Franklin is nowhere to be seen.
If you watched Fox News today you learned that the United States defeated Communist Japan and Aretha Franklin is Patti LaBelle.— Psych13 (@Tanna_J) August 16, 2018
Be honest...you didn't even know who she was or her contributions to EVERYTHING!
ALL THE SAME, RIGHT? 3 Hours ago— iarephine (@iarephine) August 16, 2018
Fox News Mistakes Patti LaBelle for Aretha Franklin
A Fox News host referred to the US defeating “communist Japan” and then later they posted a picture of Patti Labelle on a tribute to Aretha. Solid day, guys.— Molls (@mollymarie03) August 16, 2018
Ok so @FoxNews mistakes Patti Labelle for Aretha Franklin.. and blamed HRC emails for the error.— My page of random rants (@mystuff415) August 16, 2018
Fox News showing a picture of Patti LaBelle instead of Aretha Franklin in their tribute is the most in character Fox News thing ever— pettypatty (@pattyannlentz) August 16, 2018
In addition to the awkwardness pointed out by Twitter users of confusing photos two African-American women — and then issuing a misleading statement about the cause of the mistake — the network appears out of touch with popular culture. Perhaps that is a result of the fact that the media age of Fox News viewers is over 65-years-old, according to AdWeek.
In 2010, Fox News, in a story about a new reissue of Beatles music, identified the Liverpool group as hailing from Manchester, the British newspaper Metro reported.
Fox News reached out to the editors of the Inquisitr with the following statement.
“We sincerely apologize to Aretha Franklin’s family and friends. 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.”