Words by Micah Avry Guiao
What was supposed to be a peaceful commemoration of the Queen of Soul has now turned into a whirlwind of controversy.
A few days ago, the internet went haywire over some footage wherein Bishop Charles H. Ellis III was clearly shown to be wrapping his arm a little too high and tight on Ariana Grande’s torso, after which he proceeded to grope her breasts repeatedly, giving rise to the hashtag #RespectAriana.
It wouldn’t take an expert to discern that she was clearly rejecting his touches. There was discomfort written all over her face. As much as she wanted to withdraw, the bishop just gripped her closer to him.
Since then, the bishop has apologized, saying: “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.”
Ellis further incites that perhaps “it was just a joke that went bad,” explaining that he merely tried to keep the mood light and entertaining throughout the nine-hour funeral.
Here is where the problem lies–his excessive use of maybes make him anything but apologetic. There is no accountability in maybes. Even if he is given the benefit of the doubt, even if it were truly unintentional, the fact is Grande felt violated. That reason alone should be enough for him to take responsibility for his actions.
Grammar lesson. We can literally see the groping, but not the sorrow. So the inverted commas should be around the word ‘sorry’ not groping. https://t.co/rRwnEvpGbP
— Matt Haig (@matthaig1) September 1, 2018
People are like “she should have said something” when shit like that happens to you, you don’t say shit you freeze up. #RespectAriana
— T (@azuretee) September 1, 2018
It’s absurd to think that rape and harassment allegations are far too often disregarded. Consider this concrete evidence captured on video–the bishop is clearly groping Grande, and yet, some still have the audacity to invalidate the very obvious sexual misconduct unfolding before their eyes. This was done in a funeral, in front of thousands of attendees, inside a church.
Man, that people are critiquing Ariana Grande’s outfit as she’s publicly assaulted by a bishop on TV tells you everything you need to know about what a goddamned mess humanity is
— Iván Brandon (@IvanBrandon) September 2, 2018
When we condemn an awful incident such as this, may we always remember that these are the experiences that are anything but alien to women. How does this groping issue, which sparked much dispute and debate, relate to the power play and entitlement among sexes?
This isn’t about what she’s wearing. This isn’t about men’s inability to control themselves. It’s about perpetrators like the bishop who thought–and still think–that they can get away with things like this.
What are your thoughts on this? Let us know!