Matt James Opened Up About Why His Time On The Bachelor Was So "Frustrating"
"The show missed the mark."
Matt James made history as the first Black Bachelor in the ABC reality show’s 26 seasons, and now a year later, he’s speaking up with criticism for the network’s production decisions in a June 9 interview with The Los Angeles Times. James called the show “frustrating to watch” and said it made his relationship “a sideshow, a complete circus” in quotes about The Bachelor’s bad decisions. Clearly, he’s not holding anything back anymore.
The 30-year-old commercial real estate broker and entrepreneur added the title “author” to his credentials now that he’s published his recent book First Impressions: Off Screen Conversations with a Bachelor on Race, Family, and Forgiveness. The book takes a closer look at the “controversial topics” that defined Season 25 of The Bachelor and tackles his thoughts on “race, opportunity and his biracial identity.”
While promoting the new release, James told The L.A. Times the book might’ve been more revealing if he felt ABC executives were more supportive of it, and more committed to actually addressing racial issues on his season. “That opportunity was lost because everyone was afraid and sitting on their hands,” James said. “I understand it, but that’s the kind of thing that happens when you bring people of color into your space. If they’re not willing to have that conversation, they should strongly consider not going there in the first place.”
He said he was “disappointed” by the show after having meaningful conversations about race and other serious issues, which didn’t make it to the final cut. James said that “the show missed the mark” when it came to portraying the real conversations he wanted to have on screen. “So many lives could have been enriched, not only by my conversations with Rachael but with the other women who were on this journey,” James said.
Although the season’s winner, Rachael Kirkconnell, and James are happily in a relationship now, they took a break when photos of Kirkconnell at an antebellum plantation-themed ball at Georgia College & State University in 2018 resurfaced. James revealed in the “After the Final Rose” episode that he broke up with Kirkconnell shortly after he found out. However, in the June 9 interview, he said that the reality series was the real issue in their relationship. “My relationship had been made into a sideshow, a complete circus,” James said. “Rachael and I have moved on. We’re one of the only couples from that franchise still going strong. The reason is we’re going at things at our own pace. We’re not playing games that a lot of people play just to stay in that circle.”
It seems that the show misrepresented James, as he wrote in his book: “In my conversion from person to prop, key pieces of me were left behind.”