'Bachelor' Producers Take Responsibility for Lack of Diversity in Franchise

Zoe Jewell
matt james bachelor
ABC

Following the casting of Matt James as the first Black leading man in Bachelor history last week — the ABC series' producers are taking responsibility for the lack of diversity throughout the franchise over the past cumulative 40 seasons. 

In a statement posted to host Chris Harrison’s Instagram page on Friday, June 12, the powers that be acknowledged their wrongdoing and assured fans they’ll continue to take the necessary steps to include more people of color, not only in the contestant pool, but in the staff as well. 

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“We acknowledge our responsibility for the lack of representation of people of color on our franchise and pledge to make significant changes to address this issue moving forward,” the statement reads.

“We are taking positive steps to expand diversity in our cast, in our staff, and most importantly, in the relationships that we show on television. We can and will do better to reflect the world around us and show all of its beautiful love stories.”

 

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Today was one step forward. We will continue to do right and do better #BachelorNation

A post shared by Chris Harrison (@chrisbharrison) on

Matt’s reveal as the next Bachelor came just a few days after fans and members of Bachelor Nation signed a petition demanding more diversity in the franchise. 

Rachel Lindsay, the only Black person cast as a lead prior to this announcement, even threatened to remove herself from the franchise if its diversity issues were not addressed. 

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However, following Matt’s casting, the former Bachelorette star stated that she doesn’t believe this will fix all of the show’s issues.

“Congrats to Matt James. I am happy to see that a black man was cast after 18 years and 40 seasons. I believe it is a step in the right direction,” she wrote on Twitter.

“I would be remiss to not point out that based on the current climate, it feels like a knee-jerk reaction and a result of societal pressure. This announcement, without any further commitments regarding diversity, sweepingly brushes deeper issues under the rug.”

She continued, "Until we see action to address the systemic racism within the franchise, the casting news today is equivalent to the trend of posting a black box on your social media account without other steps taken to dismantle the systems of injustice."

What do you think of Matt’s casting? Do you think it’s going to lead to more diversity on the show as a whole? Let us know what you think in the comments below!