Rachel Lindsay, who in an interview recently called The Bachelor franchise’s lack of diversity “embarrassing”, took to social media today to weigh in on this morning’s announcement that Matt James has been cast as the franchise’s first black Bachelor.
Lindsay appeared on season 21 of The Bachelor and was the first African American lead on its spinoff, The Bachelorette.
“Congrats to Matt James,” Lindsay tweeted Friday following the announcement.” 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.”
But Lindsay did question the timing of the casting.
“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,” she wrote. “This announcement, without any further commitments regarding diversity, sweepingly brushes deeper issues under the rug.”
“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 added, concluding “I look forward to hearing more about the additional efforts the franchise plans to make towards change.”
James becomes the first black Bachelor in the show’s 18 year history, and the second only black lead in the franchise, following Lindsay.
Following today’s announcement of James’ casting, the executive producers of The Bachelor issued a statement addressing the franchise’s history of poor representation and vowed to do better.
In an interview on the AfterBuzz TV last week, Lindsay brought up the franchise’s staggering stats. “In 40 seasons of [The Bachelor/Bachelorette], you’ve had one black lead,” she said. “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.”