On Thursday, after a battle with advanced pancreatic caner, one of the most important artists of our time, Aretha Franklin, died at the age of 76. Everyone is upset about this, but Fox News actually handled it kind of poorly.
Following reports of Franklin’s death, Fox News broadcast a commemorative video, which at around the 3:30 mark features a transposed image in the upper right corner of living musical legend Patti LaBelle.
Here’s the frame in question. Clearly Fox News fucked up.
The photograph of LaBelle is from a 2014 performance of “Over The Rainbow” she did for then-President Barack Obama.
Fox News has since apologized, via a spokesperson named Jessica Santostefano:
“We sincerely apologize to Aretha Franklin’s family and friends. 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.”
Huff Post reports that LaBelle responded to Franklin’s death, not the photo snafu, with a brief statement, “I am deeply saddened about the passing of the Queen of Soul and my sister in song, Aretha Franklin. 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.”
Update (9:45 p.m.)
According to this Entertainment Weekly article, Fox News’s apology also contains a factual error and is possibly just full of shit. EW reports, “upon review of the photo in question of LaBelle, EW was unable to find any instance of her and Aretha Franklin performing or appearing together on stage at the “Women of Soul: In Performance at the White House” special hosted by President Obama in 2014, which aired on PBS.”