The Bachelor

Matt James, First Black ‘Bachelor,' Says Racism Controversy Is ‘Devastating'

The popular reality series and its host, Chris Harrison, have been criticized in recent weeks over diversity failures after a contestant scandal

"The Bachelor" star Matt James and host Chris Harrison are photographed on the Feb. 15, 2021, episode of "The Bachelor."
raig Sjodin via Getty Images

Matt James, the first Black man to lead ABC's "The Bachelor" franchise, spoke out Monday about the series' failures on diversity and the widespread criticism of host Chris Harrison in recent weeks, NBC News reports.

James, who is leading the show's 25th season, said a recent incident involving photos of a female contestant at an antebellum plantation-themed fraternity formal in 2018 and Harrison's defense of her are a "clear reflection of a much larger issue that the Bachelor franchise has fallen short on addressing adequately for years."

In a statement posted on social media, James, 29, said that even though there are still a few episodes left to air this season, it was important for him address the situation.

"The reality is I'm still learning about these situations in real time, and it has been devastating and heartbreaking to put it bluntly," James said.

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