Chris Harrison admits it took way too long for The Bachelor to have a person of color as the lead

Chris Harrison and Matt James
Chris Harrison says it took too long to cast Matt James as The Bachelor. Pic credit: ABC

Chris Harrison has been the host of The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and Bachelor In Paradise for two decades.

He has seen people come and go on the show and he understands the importance of diversity as it is a dating show.

But this past summer, ABC was under fire for always casting Caucasians in the lead roles. Throughout the show’s many seasons, there had only been one person of color.

Rachel Lindsay was the Bachelorette lead for one reason. Other than that, the show has been dominated by white leads and cast members.

After a whirlwind of criticism, ABC producers decided to go ahead with a person of color and Matt James is the new Bachelor.

Chris Harrison admits the network could have done better with diversity

When Matt was picked for the show, ABC didn’t say anything about the criticism they had received. Instead, they just wanted to celebrate Tayshia Adams as the lead on The Bachelorette and Matt’s new lead for the 2021 season.

But now, Chris Harrison is speaking to Variety about how the show took a long time to make this casting change. He also explained that he wants to celebrate positive change, not bring attention to how it took too long.

“It’s all too common in our society and I am not a fan, whether it’s cancel culture or whatever, there is this new thing that when someone does make change and it’s good and it’s right that we then say, ‘Well, that wasn’t enough or that wasn’t soon enough, so that doesn’t count.’ What are you talking about? The most important thing is that there is change and it’s good and it’s right and it’s moving in the right direction,” Chris told the magazine.

For him, it’s important to let people and things change and grow. It’s important that change is happening, no matter how slow it may be.

“For some reason, we have lost this grace and this understanding in allowing people to grow and to change, and it is so important that we all allow that. The most important thing in any of these movements is that if we want things to change, we have to let it happen, and don’t put a negative spin or a negative connotation when you do get it,” Chris continued, revealing that he was not going to stand in the way of great things happening.

“That’s infuriating to me. So I’m not going to put a negative spin on a great thing happening.”

Chris has never addressed why it took the franchise so long to cast someone for the lead who was anything but Caucasian.

Chris Harrison has only praised Matt James for his Bachelor journey

Matt’s season has wrapped. It stopped filming in December after starting on October 10. The new season is just weeks away. Since then, Chris has only praised Matt for the person he is.

Chris has revealed that the two exchanged words while filming but also shared that Matt was a challenge at times. For one, he knew nothing about The Bachelor franchise and he didn’t know what a rose ceremony was. At the same time, he was picked as The Bachelor without ever having been in love before.

Matt was announced as the new Bachelor in June after ABC faced criticism for not doing more in terms of diversity. He was pulled from Clare Crawley’s season and granted the lead role within days.

The Bachelorette airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8/7c on ABC.

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