'Bachelor' Franchise Vows To Do Better After Calls For More Diversity
By Emily Lee
June 13, 2020
On Friday (June 12), ABC announced Matt James as the next Bachelor. After 18 years and 40 seasons, James will be the first Black male lead on The Bachelor. The news of his casting came after weeks of public pressure from other members of the franchise, including Rachel Lindsay, and fans for the show make meaningful changes in front of and behind the camera. The executive producers of both The Bachelor and The Bachelorette released a joint statement to address the shows' glaring lack of diversity.
“We are excited to move forward with both Matt James as the new Bachelor and Clare Crawley as our next Bachelorette," the statement reads. “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."
Though the statement doesn't go into specifics about their plans, the producers promised they "are taking positive steps to expand diversity in our cast, in our staff, and most importantly, in the relationships that we show on television." They signed off by telling their viewers that they "can and will do better to reflect the world around us and show all of its beautiful love stories.”
The statement from producers comes after Lindsay expressed doubt that the franchise was going to make any meaningful structural change after announcing James as the next Bachelor. "I believe it is a step in the right direction,” Lindsay wrote of James' casting 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. I look forward to hearing more about the additional efforts the franchise plans to make towards change.”