Fans of The Bachelor were hit with big news on the morning of June 12: Matt James will lead the show’s 25th season! He is also set to make a name for himself as the first Black bachelor in the franchise’s history. The 28-year-old has proved popular among Bachelor Nation, off the back of his friendship with former contestant Tyler Cameron, however some fans are wondering why Mike Johnson, 31, wasn’t picked instead.
The nation fell in love with Mike when he competed for Hannah Brown‘s heart on her season of The Bachelorette, and was reportedly in talks to lead Season 24, which ultimately starred Peter Weber. Now that ABC has cast a person of color, fans are questioning why the role wasn’t given to Mike. “I am GLAD they are expanding in their leads but like MIKE?? JOHNSON??? Well established? Successful?? A veteran?? Grew up by a single mom and his sister?? Respects women??? LGBTQ supporter?? Who even is this guy??” one fan wrote on Twitter.
I am GLAD they are expanding in their leads but like MIKE?? JOHNSON??? Well established? Successful?? A veteran?? Grew up by a single mom and his sister?? Respects women??? LGBTQ supporter?? Who even is this guy?? https://t.co/n0QWZikbbt
— Jo (@Jordannjenk) June 12, 2020
While many expressed how glad they were that the show had finally diversified its cast, some questioned Matt’s intentions. “When a whole franchise has been asking for Mike Johnson as the new Bachelor for over a year and instead we get a thirsty TikTokker,” one viewer wrote on Twitter. Back in September, former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay, who was the first Black “Bachelorette” in 2017, expressed disappointment that Mike lost out on the starring role in Season 24.
“I think Peter seems like a very nice guy. He seems lovely. This is absolutely nothing against him, but how many Peters have we seen before? What season are we on? 24. So, we’ve seen 24 Peters,” she told Entertainment Tonight. “I’m bored. And it’s nothing personal against him. For the first time, I was very confident that we were going to see our first black Bachelor.”
Instead, Bachelor Nation will see Matt on the small screen when The Bachelor returns at an unknown date, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Hopefully this is the first of many Black men to be in the position that I am now,” Matt said of the announcement. “I think it’s a step in the right direction.”