June 12 (UPI) — The Bachelor has named its first black star: Matt James.
ABC confirmed James’ casting in Season 25 Friday on Twitter following new dialogue about the franchise’s lack of diversity.
“It’s official…your next Bachelor is @mattjames919!” the post reads.
James is friends with Tyler Cameron, who competed in Hannah Brown’s season of The Bachelorette. James was initially cast to appear in Clare Crawley’s upcoming season of The Bachelorette, which suspended production in March due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
ABC celebrated James’ casting in a statement Friday to Good Morning America.
“We know we have a responsibility to make sure the love stories we’re seeing onscreen are representative of the world we live in, and we are proudly in service to our audience,” the network said.
“This is just the beginning, and we will continue to take action with regard to diversity issues on this franchise. We feel so privileged to have Matt as our first black Bachelor and we cannot wait to embark on this journey with him.”
Rachel Lindsay, the first and only black Bachelorette, and other stars in the franchise previously raised concerns about the show’s lack of diversity. Talks renewed in the wake of George Floyd’s death in May.
Lindsay said in an interview with AfterBuzz this month that she would cut ties with the franchise if it didn’t take steps to diversify, including casting a black Bachelor in Season 25.
James said Friday on GMA that his casting is “a step in the right direction” for the franchise.