Fox News Apologizes for Confusing Aretha Franklin and Patti LaBelle

Fox News Aretha Franklin graphic (Credit: Fox News)

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 anger 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 MoreAretha 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 performing 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.

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.”

Known as the “Queen of Soul,” Franklin’s chart-topping career spanned nearly six decades.

She broke barriers, won 18 Grammy Awards and performed for three presidents. The “Think,” “(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman,” “Chain of Fools,” and “Freeway of Love” songstress died on Aug.16, 2018.

R&B singer and actress Patti LaBelle is known to fans as the “Godmother of Soul.” She was born in 1944, and is known for her hit singles “You Are My Friend,”  “If Only You Knew,” “New Attitude,” “Stir It Up,” and “On My Own.” Over the years she has won two Grammy Awards.

You can watch the video of LaBelle’s performance below.