A video of the moment the bishop wrapped his arm around Grande after she performed Franklin's (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman has been shared widely online.
In the video his hand appears to touch the side of her breast.
I don’t care what you think about Ariana Grande, her music or her dress. This is wrong. That bishop’s hand should not be on her breast: I just saw this because I’ve been working and not watching pic.twitter.com/ixVhgYBJTN— Mona Eltahawy (@monaeltahawy) September 1, 2018
Many viewers expressed outrage over the clip, and within hours the hashtag #RespectAriana was trending worldwide with 90,000 tweets.
"It would never be my intention to touch any woman's breast... I don't know I guess I put my arm around her," Bishop Ellis said.
"Maybe I crossed the border, maybe I was too friendly or familiar but again, I apologise."
The preacher said he hugged all the performers during Friday's seven-hour service.
"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. The last thing I want to do is to be a distraction to this day. This is all about Aretha Franklin."
Although many criticised the preacher and said the singer looked uncomfortable when it happened, Grande has made no public comment about the matter.
The bishop also apologised to Grande, her fans and Hispanic community for making a joke about seeing her name on the programme and thinking it was a new item on the menu at Taco Bell, a Tex-Mex chain of fast food restaurants popular in the US.
Though the bishop has issued an apology, people are still giving their opinions on the matter;
Ariana Grande isn't the problem y'all predatory ass pastors are the problem.— KingofReads (@Justinj1232) September 1, 2018
Ariana grande was touched on inappropriately stage and everyone is blaming it on the fact that she’s wearing a short dress. Sounds like the black church. pic.twitter.com/jH2Eiu8ROl— Cross-Dressing Satanic Lobster (@xxjewelsndrugs) August 31, 2018
THEM: Ariana Grande dress is too short, she shouldn’t have worn a short dress in a church or especially around men.— Jerome Trammel (@MrJeromeTrammel) August 31, 2018
1. Teach men to control themselves.
2. Church says come as you are.
3. Y’all silent about this pastor’s hand on @ArianaGrande breast. pic.twitter.com/iwlr5Y4Uyv
Many Nigerian ladies can totally relate with that Ariana Grande video.— Rita C. Onwurah (@RitaOnwurah) September 1, 2018
You’ll be greeting someone usually older & then before you know it, you notice that his hand is lingering somewhere it isn’t supposed to and you’re scared to move in a way that comes off as disrespectful
Found this interesting? Don't forget to share with your friends and family.