AceShowbiz - Fox News has apologised after coming under fire for using an image of singer Patti Labelle instead of the late Aretha Franklin in its tribute package on Thursday, August 16.
Fans of the singer accused the right-wing news network of disrespecting the 76-year-old musical icon, who died at her Detroit, Michigan home on Thursday after losing her battle with pancreatic cancer.
According to editors at The New York Daily News, during an America's Newsroom segment with hosts Bill Hemmer and Sandra Smith, which included a package of highlights of Aretha's career, fans noticed that one slide showed a shot of Aretha prominently on the left side, but on the right side, above Franklin's birth and death dates, was a second image of 74-year-old Patti - who is still very much alive - singing.
"The dis-R-E-S-P-E-C-T. That's really Patti LaBelle in the corner," one fan wrote on Twitter.
Umm, is that Patti LaBelle in the corner? pic.twitter.com/PmUPpgc0zb— Philip Lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) August 16, 2018
The dis-R-E-S-P-E-C-T. That’s really Patti LaBelle in the corner wtf https://t.co/gGYRbM0Nj7— Gra (@ayeitsgrachelle) August 16, 2018
The news channel was forced to issue an apology for the mistake, which they insisted was unintentional.
"We sincerely apologise to Aretha Franklin's family and friends," Fox News Vice President Jessica Santostefano said in a statement, obtained by Variety. "Our intention was to honour the icon using a secondary image of her performing with Patti LaBelle in the full screen graphic, but the image of Ms. Franklin was obscured in that process, which we deeply regret."
The image originated from a 2014 performance at the White House, where she sang for former U.S. President Barack Obama. Although Aretha sang at the event, called "In Performance at the White House: Women of Soul", she doesn't appear to have shared the stage with Patti. And she wasn't in the photo that Fox ran on air.
On Thursday Patti paid her own moving tribute to the "I Say a Little Prayer" singer.
Rest in peace Aretha. ❤ pic.twitter.com/QT7HeY5SIf— Patti LaBelle (@MsPattiPatti) August 16, 2018
"I am deeply saddened about the passing of the Queen of Soul and my sister in song, Aretha Franklin," Patti wrote on Twitter. "Today the world has experienced a tremendous loss.
"Aretha was a rare treasure whose unmatched musical genius helped craft the soundtrack to the lives of so many. My sympathy, love and prayers go out to her family, loved ones and fans around the globe."