Fox News mistakes Patti LaBelle for Aretha Franklin

Photo credit: Jon Pack/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank / David Livingston - Getty Images
Photo credit: Jon Pack/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank / David Livingston - Getty Images

From Digital Spy

Fox News has come under fire from viewers after the US channel included a picture of R&B singer Patti LaBelle in a memorial montage for Aretha Franklin, after the Queen of Soul passed away today (August 16).

After initial reports earlier this week revealed that the singer was gravely ill, Franklin's representatives confirmed on Thursday that she had passed away at the age of 76 from advanced pancreatic cancer.

Tributes came pouring in for the musical icon, but during one such tribute on Fox News' America's Newsroom programme, an image of the very much still alive Patti LaBelle appeared in the background of a title card marking Franklin's lifespan instead.

According to TVLine, the visual – which appears to be of LaBelle during a performance for Barack and Michelle Obama at the White House in 2014 – appeared as hosts Bill Hemmer and Sandra Smith were discussing Franklin's talent and musical legacy.

A lot of people noticed the gaffe, and were quick to point it out online:

In response to the mix-up, Jessica Santostefano, Vice President, Media Desk, Fox News, told Digital Spy that they "sincerely apologise", saying that the picture did feature Aretha Franklin but was obscured in transmission.

"We sincerely apologise to Aretha Franklin's family and friends," her statement read. "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."

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

In a statement confirming Franklin's passing, her representative said that Franklin's family and friends have been "deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support" they've received since the news broke.

"In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart," the statement read.

"We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds."

Patti LaBelle herself was among those who paid tribute to the singer on social media.

"My thoughts, my heart and my prayers are with Aretha Franklin, the greatest singer of all time, and all of her loved ones right now," Patti wrote at first, before later following up with a longer statement.

"I am deeply saddened about the passing of the Queen of Soul and my sister in song, Aretha Franklin," the longer statement read. "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."

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