Fox News has issued an apology after showing an image of Patti LaBelle in a tribute to Aretha Franklin, who died Thursday at age 76.
After the error drew condemnation on social media, a Fox executive said the network intended to show an image of the two singers together, but Franklin was “obscured” onscreen.
“We sincerely apologize to Aretha Franklin’s family and friends,” said Jessica Santostefano, Vice President, Media Desk at Fox News, in a statement to the media. “Our intention was to honor 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.”
Read More: Aretha Franklin, ‘Queen of Soul,’ Dies at 76
The composite image was included in an on-air obit, and showed Franklin in front, with LaBelle singing in the background. It was taken from LaBelle singing Over the Rainbow during the Women of Soul: In Performance at the White House television special in 2014.
Eagle-eyed viewers noticed the mistake and called out Fox News on social media.
“Aretha Franklin died so Fox News paid tribute with an image of Patti LaBelle because Fox News isn’t racist and doesn’t think that black people look the same,” one person tweeted.
Aretha Franklin died so Fox News paid tribute with an image of Patti LaBelle because Fox News isn't racist and doesn't think that black people look the same. pic.twitter.com/zyXXr3RuVN
— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) August 16, 2018
Stand-up comedian Sarah Cooper added: “If you watched Fox News today you learned that the United States defeated Communist Japan and Aretha Franklin is Patti LaBelle.”
If you watched Fox News today you learned that the United States defeated Communist Japan and Aretha Franklin is Patti LaBelle
— Sarah Cooper (@sarahcpr) August 16, 2018
Another person quipped: “Fox News never ceases to amaze me, that’s Patti LaBelle in the top right corner y’all.”
Fox News never ceases to amaze me 🤦🏽♂️ that’s Patti Labelle in the top right corner y’all. pic.twitter.com/mNWLuo58Pi
— Jordan T. Blackstone (@jo_tyre) August 16, 2018
You can watch the video of LaBelle’s performance below.