It was the embrace seen around the world, which resulted in immediate uproar on Twitter. Following her performance at Aretha Franklin’s funeral in August, Bishop Charles H. Ellis III invited Ariana Grande to the stage and proceeded to wrap his arm around her, which resulted in what appeared to be him groping the side of her right breast on live TV.
On Friday, People reported that over a month later, Pete Davidson recently spoke about the incident for the first time during his interview on SiriusXM’s The Howard Stern Show, where he revealed that neither he or his fiancée had realized what happened until after the fact.
“We didn’t even know it happened until after,” he said. “It’s not cool and I feel really bad,” he added.
However, despite the inappropriate nature of what seemingly occurred, Davidson, 24, admitted that neither he nor the “Pete Davidson” song crooner, 25, hold any ill-will towards Ellis, as they do not believe he meant to do it.
“We both don’t think that was intentional. He’s a really tall guy, she’s very little,” he revealed.
While the couple may not have noticed Ellis’s a little-to-close-for-comfort touch, viewers watching from home did and there was immediate backlash against the bishop via Twitter, as “#RespectAriana” began trending worldwide.
WAKE UP PEOPLE she looks so uncomfortable here and ya know what? He is so disgusting, he groped her many times and people still "it was an accident" omg those who say that can keep your opinion away bcs yall are toxic asf. Every woman deserves to be treated nicely #RespectAriana pic.twitter.com/40Hzepprsu
— #sweetener ???????? (@yuchisyuta) September 1, 2018
Following public outcry, Ellis immediately apologized for his actions when he spoke to 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. Maybe I crossed the border, maybe I was too friendly or familiar but again, I apologize.”
However, the groping scandal wasn’t the only thing Ellis ended up having to apologize for.
As many fans might remember, the longtime pastor admitted to the crowd following Grande’s performance, that upon seeing her name listed on the funeral’s program, he originally thought the “God Is A Woman” singer’s name was a new menu item from the fast-food chain Taco Bell.
“He was trying to be funny. He did a stupid joke, he’s a pastor. He did a sh**ty joke, broadcast it on TV. Sh**ty situation. I feel bad for the guy,” the Saturday Night Live comedian stated.
For this, Ellis issued the following statement:
“I personally and sincerely apologize 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.”
Funny or not, Grande handled the bishop’s rather poor taste in comedy with grace, as she laughed and even hugged him following his admission.