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ABC announces first Black 'Bachelor'

ABC announced that it has cast its first black male lead, Matt James, on "The...
ABC announced that it has cast its first black male lead, Matt James, on "The Bachelor" following a petition calling for more diversity on the long-running franchise. (CNN) (KWCH)
Published: Jun. 12, 2020 at 6:40 PM CDT
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ABC has cast the first black "Bachelor" following a petition urging the network to address a lack of diversity on the enormously popular reality dating franchise.

Matt James will be the star of the 25th season of "The Bachelor." The 28-year-old was a popular contestant on season 16 of "The Bachelorette."

A Change.org petition urging ABC to address a lack of diversity on "The Bachelor" and its lead spinoff, "The Bachelorette," garnered support from thousands including franchise alums. The petition said in 18 years and 40 seasons, the show has had only one black lead.

The discussion about a lack of inclusion in the franchise, not a new one. In 2012, two African-American men filed a class-action lawsuit alleging that ABC was intentionally excluding people of color from leading the show after they both applied to be "The Bachelor" in 2011. That suit was dismissed.

Despite the addition of more contestants of color, many viewers have continued to criticize racial disparities in the franchise.