Matt James, ABC’s First Black Bachelor, Says Show’s Producers Missed an Opportunity to Talk About Race

Matt James (ABC)

Matt James, who made history last year as the first Black (male) lead on one of TV’s biggest shows, The Bachelor, has had over a year to reflect on the experience and now says he sees the full scope of the opportunity lost.

Given the landmark nature of his role, James says he expected the show’s producers would use the conversations around race and other matters he was having with the contestants and then-host Chris Harrison to illuminate the issues the country was facing in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd. But when he saw the show after it was edited, those discussions and even the reality of his own accomplishments were subsumed by the show’s fluffier fare.

“There was nothing to lay the framework — my background, who I was or why I’m here,” James recently told the Los Angeles Times. “The show went straight into seeing these women doing crazy things. It was very frustrating to watch.”

The Bachelor franchise had long been criticized for its lack of diversity, and with the George Floyd protests gaining steam, the show’s executive producers issued a statement in June of last year addressing the franchise’s history of poor representation. They vowed to do better.

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SOURCE: Deadline, Tom Tapp