The bishop officiating Aretha Franklin's funeral, Charles H. Ellis III, has apologised to Ariana Grande after images and footage of their interaction were met with criticism for being inappropriate.

In an interview with AP, Ellis said that he "would never be my intention to touch any woman’s breast... I don’t know I guess I put my arm around her," and added that "(maybe) I crossed the border, maybe I was too friendly or familiar but again, I apologize."

Ellis was also criticised for making a joke about Ariana Grande's name, claiming that he first though it sounded like a menu item from Taco Bell. "When you’re doing a program for nine hours you try to keep it lively, you try to insert some jokes here and there," said Ellis.

The interaction between Grande and Ellis sparked a Twitter hashtag #RespectAriana, with many believing that Grande was groped and belittled by Ellis. However, others claimed that Grande's dress was inappropriate for a funeral.

Grande herself has made no comment on either Ellis' apology or the criticisms against her dress.