'The Bachelor': Rachel Lindsay says casting first black man to star 'feels like a knee-jerk reaction'

Rachel Lindsay wants The Bachelor to be more diverse in every season. (Photo: Santiago Felipe / WireImage)
Rachel Lindsay is not particularly impressed by Friday's announcement that Matt James will be the next star of ABC's The Bachelor - the very first black lead in the show.
Lindsay, who was the first black woman to host the companion show The Bachelorette in 2017, congratulated James, but also warned about the move, "feels like a knee-jerk reaction and a result of social pressures".
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Many companies are trying to become more inclusive - or at least to appear - as people across the country protest against racial inequality. They fire employees after racist incidents and pull offensive material.
Lindsay said the action alone was "synonymous with the trend of posting a black box on your social media account without taking other steps to dismantle the systems of injustice."
She looks forward to learning more about what the 18 year bachelor franchise, which includes The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart and Bachelor in Paradise, has planned for increasing diversity.
Rachel Lindsay

@ TheRachLindsay
Congratulations to Matt James. I am glad to see that after 18 years and 40 seasons a black man has been occupied. I think it's a step in the right direction.
7:40 p.m. - June 12, 2020
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Rachel Lindsay

@ TheRachLindsay
I don't want to point out that given the current climate, it feels like a jerky reaction and a result of social pressures. This announcement, with no further diversity commitments, sweeps deeper questions under the carpet.
7:43 p.m. - June 12, 2020
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Rachel Lindsay

@ TheRachLindsay
Until we see measures to combat systemic racism within the franchise, today's casting news is in line with the trend of posting a black box on your social media account without taking further steps to dismantle the systems of injustice.
7:43 p.m. - June 12, 2020
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Rachel Lindsay

@ TheRachLindsay
I look forward to hearing more about the additional efforts the franchise is planning to change.
7:43 p.m. - June 12, 2020
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ABC, the parent company of the bachelor franchise and the GMA, said James was originally filled as one of the applicants who fought for the heart of former candidate Clare Crawley. This season would have had its premiere last spring, but was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement to GMA, Karey Burke, President of ABC Entertainment, said: “Matt has been on our radar since February, when the producers first contacted him during Clare's season to join Bachelor Nation. When filming could not proceed as planned, we had time to meet Matt, and everyone agreed that he would do a perfect bachelor's degree. "
The bachelor

@ BachelorABC
It's official ... your next bachelor's degree is @ mattjames919!
51.7 K.
12:25 p.m. - June 12, 2020
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In a Friday morning interview on Good Morning America, Lindsay outlined some of the changes she'd like to see after the announcement.
"I want paint producers," said Lindsay. "I want them to occupy leads who are interested in dating outside of their race and who are not just collecting their first experiences - for the first time - on national television. I need confirmation for that. Don't put a plaster on the situation and just say, "Here, we're going to put this here. Are you happy now? '"
Just last week, Lindsay said the "whitewashed" show essentially had no choice but to name a black star for the new season.
"I think they have to give us a black bachelor for season 25 at this point. You have to. I don't know how you don't, ”she said on AfterBuzz TV. "And I was asked if I would continue in this franchise if it went on like this?" I can not. I have to see some kind of change. It is ridiculous. It's embarrassing. At this point it is embarrassing to be connected to him. "
The fans have also called for a change. More than 87,000 of them signed a petition on June 8 demanding greater diversity in front of and behind the show's cameras.
Read more from Yahoo Entertainment:
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Sean Penn offers free COVID-19 tests during protests: "Testing and protesting are currently essential."
"Riverdale" star Vanessa Morgan says she's fed up with blacks "being used as non-dimensional side kick characters for our white leads."

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