A video from the ceremony emerged which saw the bishop wrapped his arm around Grande and appear to touch her breast after she performed Franklin’s (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.
“It would never be my intention to touch any woman’s breast”
Bishop Ellis has now spoken out, saying it wasn’t his intention to touch Ariana’s breast.
He stated: “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 apologise.
“I hug all the female artists and the male artists.”
He then continued: “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.”
Ariana has yet to make a public comment about the matter.
The bishop also apologised to Ariana, 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.
He added: “I personally and sincerely apologise to Ariana and to her fans and to the whole Hispanic community.
“When you’re doing a programme for nine hours you try to keep it lively, you try to insert some jokes here and there.”
Discussing the incident online, feminist author Mona Eltahawy wrote: “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.”