September 03, 2018

Ariana Grande getting groped by a bishop is all kinds of f*cked up

You might have heard the latest misogynistic episode on Why This World is Seriously F*cked Up. The weekend’s trending hashtags #RespectAriana and #RespectArianaAndAllWomen were borne from the whole cringe-y exchange between Ariana Grande and Bishop Charles H. Ellis III, the pastor presiding over the late Aretha Franklin’s memorial service, whom one netizen pointed out was being too handsy with the pop star’s breast.

First of all, let’s get this straight: Ariana Grande got groped. No, there’s no question about it. The pastor didn’t “accidentally” put his hands there. I mean, the footage speaks for itself. Watch it carefully and you’ll agree it just isn’t possible. His claims, “I was, I don’t know I guess I put my arm around her” and “I hug all the female artists and the male artists. Everybody that was up, I shook their hands and hugged them” are total bullsh*t. Excuse me, pastor, but that is NOT how you casually hug someone. Several netizens think so, too.

While bishop Elis did offer an apology after getting called out by the public, as netizens pointed out, “Maybe I crossed the border, maybe I was too friendly or familiar, but again, I apologize” don’t really seem like a real apology. His statement, “It’s not about the way that I meant it, or it went bad. If somebody took it the wrong way, or if they were offended by it, the easiest thing and the right thing for me to do, as a Christian, as a man of God is to apologize, and I sincerely apologize to Ariana again if I offended her in any kind of way” really ticks me off, too. It’s like he’s reaching out because he’s basically obliged to do so “as a man of God,” and it’s “the easiest thing” to do; not because he sincerely admits to his wrongdoing.

Worse? People somehow found a way to blame it on Ariana. Some said her dress was too short and inappropriate for the funeral service. How many times have we gone over this, people? A woman’s way of dressing is NEVER an invitation for any kind of harassment. This happened because the man was an a**hole, period.

Still, others argued it was Ariana’s fault for not doing anything. Several netizens actually noted how uncomfortable she was during the whole exchange, and at one point, even attempting to lose the pastor’s hand on her chest, but to no use. He was plainly harassing her, and poor Ariana felt trapped. I’ve been in a similar situation once, and believe me, I always thought I could do something, but at that moment, I totally froze. Not being able to do anything doesn’t negate the fact that something wrong did happen.

The whole episode was disturbing especially because it happened at a public and supposedly solemn event, by a man of the church. The statement, “That’s what we are all about in the church. We are all about love,” coming from the pastor, is just all levels of disgusting. It’s true we can’t generalize the religious institution in its entirety. I think that beyond that, this is eye-opening on how men in general—but especially those in power (be it the church, government, corporate ladder, etc)—have become too privileged to do something like this before the eyes of the world, unabashedly and without remorse, and still expect to get way with it. It really makes you question how f*cked up our society can be.

 

Art by Marian Hukom

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Aretha Franklin, Ariana Grande, culture, feminism, sexual harassment



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