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Fox News on Thursday paid tribute to Aretha Franklin, hours after news broke that the legendary singer died at the age of 76. However, the network accidentally used a photo of singer Patti LaBelle in their coverage. The photo of LaBelle, wearing green, is seen faded in the background of a slide shown during the broadcast.
LaBelle’s photo appeared onscreen as America’s Newsroom hosts Bill Hemmer and Sandra Smith recalled the late Franklin’s contributions to the music industry. “She sang with a smile on her face when she performed,” said Hemmer, while Smith added, “That powerhouse voice. An incredibly gifted musician, an amazing pianist.” (Watch the full tribute here.)
It wasn’t long before Twitter users pointed out the network’s unfortunate mistake. The image of LaBelle appears to have come from her 2014 visit to the White House, where she performed for President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama.
Yep here’s video pic.twitter.com/IIkMDuKB7e
— Zachary Pleat (@zpleat) August 16, 2018
Fox News has since apologized in a statement: “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.”
Franklin died Thursday at her home in Detroit. The 20-time Grammy winner had been battling advanced pancreatic cancer.
Since Franklin’s death, many notable names in entertainment and politics — including Clive Davis, Hugh Jackman, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey and the Obamas, among others — have released statements offering their condolences.
“Aretha may have passed on to a better place, but the gift of her music remains to inspire us all,” the Obamas said in part. “May the Queen of Soul rest in eternal peace. Michelle and I send our prayers and warmest sympathies to her family and all those moved by her songs.”
LaBelle offered sentiments of her own on Thursday morning in a lengthy tweet. “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,” she wrote. “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.”
Rest in peace Aretha. pic.twitter.com/QT7HeY5SIf
— Patti LaBelle (@MsPattiPatti) August 16, 2018
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