Fox News apparently mistook singer Patti LaBelle for Aretha Franklin on Thursday, including a photo of LaBelle as part of the network’s obituary image for Franklin, who passed away earlier this morning after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
At the end of an America’s Newsroom segment memorializing the late singer-songwriter, Fox News cut to a still image of Franklin, captioned “Aretha Franklin, Singer, 1942-2018,” inexplicably featuring a background photograph of LaBelle—who is not Franklin—singing for PBS in 2014. The flub was made all-the-more ironic by the fact that Franklin and LaBelle reportedly had a longstanding feud that only ended on Thursday morning when the 76-year-old legendary diva passed away.
“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,” said Jessica Santostefano, Fox News’s VP of media desk, in a statement.
Contrary to Fox’s claim, however, Franklin was not on-stage with LaBelle during that performance. According to the same AP photograph used by Fox News, the only Franklin connection is that her name appears in the caption because she separately performed at the same Obama White House event.