Rachel Lindsay, The Bachelor and Bachelorette alum, called the recent casting of Matt James as the first Black Bachelor a bit suspicious. The announcement of James' casting as the next Bachelor came shortly after Lindsay, in an interview on the AfterBuzz TV digital network, called out The Bachelor's lack of diversity in casting. Now, Rachel Lindsay's reaction to Matt James as The Bachelor is a skeptical outlook on how the franchise plans to move forward.
On Friday, June 12, Lindsay posted a congratulations message on Twitter following the announcement of James' casting. “Congrats to Matt James,” wrote Lindsay. "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 continued, writing, "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." Lindsay also pointed out the casting needs to come with a dedicated commitment to diversity moving forward: "This announcement, without any further commitments regarding diversity, sweepingly brushes deeper issues under the rug."
The media personality continued her series of tweets, saying, "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." She finished her thread with the statement, "I look forward to hearing more about the additional efforts the franchise plans to make towards change."
In the interview with AfterBuzz TV on Friday, June 5, Lindsay said, "In 40 seasons of [The Bachelor], you’ve had one Black lead." She continued, “We are on 45 presidents. And in 45 presidents. there’s been one Black president. You are almost on par to say you’re more likely to become the president of the United States than you are a black lead in this franchise. That’s insane. That’s ridiculous.”
During the interview, Lindsay admitted that she's embarrassed to be involved with the reality show. “It’s been asked of me, will I continue in this franchise if it continues in this way,” she said. “I can’t. I have to see some type of change. It’s ridiculous. It’s embarrassing. At this point, it’s embarrassing to be affiliated with it.”
On the official Bachelor Nation website, the producers of the show issued a statement about doing better and expanding the show's diversity. "We are excited to move forward with both Matt James as the new Bachelor and Clare Crawley as our next Bachelorette," wrote the executive producers. "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," they said. The statement also claimed the producers are "taking positive steps to expand diversity" not only in the staff of the show but in the casting of the show. "We can and will do better to reflect the world around us and show all of its beautiful love stories," the statement concluded.
You'll need to wait for Season 25 of The Bachelor to see how the show implements these promised changes with James as the new leading man.