SPOILER ALERT: This report contains spoilers from the Season 20 finale of The Bachelor.
ABC announced its next contestant on The Bachelorette tonight, but for some it’s a case of same old, same old, diversity-wise. Jo Jo Fletcher, runner-up on the just-ended Season 20 of The Bachelor, will have the fellas chasing her this summer in the 12th edition of The Bachelorette.
The choice was surprising to some, as third-place Bachelor finisher Caila Quinn was widely expected to take the Bachelorette role for its upcoming 12th edition that premieres May 23. Indeed, cameras were spotted following the young woman in her hometown last week, fueling speculation. The deal is, Quinn is half Filipino, and ABC Entertainment President Paul Lee said at TCA in January that he’d “be very surprised if The Bachelorette in the summer isn’t diverse.” Fletcher’s mother is Persian, but ABC’s release about the “fan favorite” being selected for Bachelorette did not address her family history; indeed its headline called her a “Southern sweetheart.”
Suffice it to say, diversity has not been a strong point of The Bachelor franchise over the years. There had been more minority contestants in the wake of a failed 2012 class-action lawsuit over racial discrimination. Still, only one non-white person has led either series in its 30-plus cycles. We’ll see how this latest Bachelorette casting goes down in the court of social media opinion.