The news channel posted an 11-minute video tribute after Franklin’s publicist confirmed she had died, aged 76, at her Detroit home on Thursday morning.
At three minutes in a picture of Franklin was in shot with another of 74-year-old LaBelle performing Somewhere Over the Rainbow for President Barack Obama in 2014.
The video was tweeted out to the channel’s official Twitter account alongside the message: “BREAKING NEWS: Aretha Franklin, ‘Queen of Soul,’ dead at 76.”
Viewers vented their disgust online, with many accusing Fox News of racism and of showing a lack of respect towards Franklin.
One tweeted: “#Fox news you dishonored The Queenof Soul - Ms. Aretha Franklin! Her music is in every part of music to this day. Shame on your Racist ignorance!”
Another posted: “Disgusting: Faux News reported Aretha Franklin's death, but posted a picture of Patti LaBelle! Absolutely reprehensible!”
@FoxNews thinks Patti LaBelle and Aretha Franklin are the same person. Racist morons.— Michael Self (@NoteFromSELF) August 17, 2018
@FoxNews What is wrong with you that you don't know the difference between Aretha and Patti??? Honest to god you are the most racist bunch I have ever seen. No wonder Trump loves you.— Luminya (@Luminya1) August 17, 2018
The dis-R-E-S-P-E-C-T. That’s really Patti LaBelle in the corner wtf https://t.co/gGYRbM0Nj7— Gra (@ayeitsgrachelle) August 16, 2018
Pretty soon they will feature a video of Whitney Houston with the caption,"Aretha sings 'I will Always Love You."'— AbbyNormalSomeone (@TellTaleHeart45) August 17, 2018
Fox News Vice President, Media Desk Jessica Santostefano issued an apology to Franklin’s family, saying the channel “deeply regrets” the mistake.
“We sincerely apologise to Aretha Franklin’s family and friends,” Santostefano said in a statement to PEOPLE.
“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.”
LaBelle was among those who paid tribute to the “rare treasure” after she lost her lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer.
In a Twitter statement LaBelle posted: “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. My sympathy, love and prayers go out to her family, loved ones and fans around the globe.”