‘The Bachelor’: Chris Harrison Says Peter Weber Embraces Inclusivity and Diversity By Being a ‘Good Person’ Who ‘Doesn’t Have a Type’

For years, The Bachelor franchise has been criticized for its lack of diversity and inclusivity. But in recent seasons, a few strides have been made to highlight people representative of a reality beyond TV’s easily digestible norms. Hannah Brown was proudly sex-positive on The Bachelorette. Demi Burnett came out as bisexual on Bachelor in Paradise. And Rachel Lindsay became the first black lead of the entire franchise. Now, with Peter Weber’s season of The Bachelor coming up on Jan. 6, fans are wondering how — or if — the ABC series will continue to embrace diversity and inclusivity moving forward.

Chris Harrison opens up about ‘The Bachelor’s wave of inclusivity with Hannah Brown and Colton Underwood

On Jan. 2, The Hollywood Reporter spoke with Harrison and brought up Brown’s sex-positivity on The Bachelorette and the impact it had on Bachelor Nation. The publication then asked whether Weber’s season of The Bachelor will continue the trend.

“With Colton [Underwood] and his virginity and Bachelor in Paradise with same-sex relationships and you mention Hannah and her strength and what she stood for herself, those aren’t things you start at the beginning of a season and say, ‘OK, this is the social stand we’re going to make or the social issue that we’re going to deal with,'” Harrison said. “It’s just something that comes with the show now.”

The Bachelor host also hinted that if there is something within Weber’s season to increase inclusivity, then the ABC reality series plans to “lean into it,” regardless of how the audience reacts. That said, Harrison remained vague about what that “something” will be. He said:

We’re going to embrace it and lean into it and we’re not going to shy away from it or gloss over it. Sometimes it’s positive, sometimes it’s negative and sometimes it’s controversial. But whatever it is, I think it’s incumbent upon us now, socially, to really embrace it and shine a light on it. And I love that about the show. That can’t be what the show is always about. But at the same time, it’s something that we can include and it’s a meaningful side aspect of the show that I’m proud of.

Chris Harrison explains how Peter Weber’s season of ‘The Bachelor’ will embrace inclusivity and diversity

Chris Harrison and Peter Weber on 'Bachelor in Paradise' Reunion Show
Chris Harrison and Peter Weber on ‘Bachelor in Paradise’ | John Fleenor via Getty Images

The Hollywood Reporter then asked Harrison to go deeper, questioning how Weber will be a “good representative” of the wave of inclusivity within The Bachelor franchise. And while it seems the host tip-toed around the question in regards to Weber, Harrison promises the women have “incredible stories.”

“I just know Peter is a good person,” Harrison said. “He’s a good man, he’s a gentlemen, he’s sincere, and he couldn’t be more open and honest about the way he lives his life and what he’s looking for. You have some amazing women on this season that have incredible stories and, again, we’re going to lean into some of those stories that aren’t your typical Leave It to Beaver kind of stories.”

Meanwhile, Harrison touched on diversity within Weber’s cast on The Bachelor, revealing the 28-year-old is open to all types of women. But ultimately, it’s possible a more diverse group of contestants now could lead to even more diverse representations on The Bachelorette — and so on and so forth.

“What’s interesting with Peter is that I think he is the one who is going to open this to a whole wide, diverse group of women from all walks of life, because he really doesn’t have a type,” Harrison said. “He’s maybe the most open, inclusive Bachelor that we’ve ever had in that he really doesn’t narrow it down to any stereotypical, geography, superficial, looks…whatever it is. He’s open.”

He continued: “It made it difficult as a producer and as a host to figure out what he was looking for, but it’s really fun to watch because you’re not going to see what’s coming next with him since he just really didn’t have a type. So it really is a great, diverse cast of women who really come from all walks of life. Different stories, different jobs. It’s pretty fascinating.”

Peter Weber on the lack of diversity within ‘The Bachelor’

Prior to filming The Bachelor in September, Entertainment Tonight sat down with Weber. The Delta pilot discussed the lack of diversity within the franchise, particularly since fans were disheartened Mike Johnson wasn’t chosen as the first black bachelor.

“Totally fair, totally get where everyone’s coming from,” Weber said of the criticisms. “I didn’t make this decision. I was very grateful to accept it and move forward. But listen, regardless of race, identity, and whatnot, everybody is deserving of love.”

He continued: “I’m not the only person there. Mike would’ve been a great bachelor. Tyler [Cameron] could have been a great bachelor. They picked me and I’m very excited and very humbled. I can’t wait for this journey to begin. But I know Mike. He’s gonna go find love and he’s very deserving of it.”

Weber then noted that the topic of diversity within The Bachelor franchise is “tough” and should be discussed. However, he can only speak for his experience.

“I’m all for diversity. And I’m excited for this journey and maybe date some diverse women that I haven’t dated before,” Weber said. “I haven’t found my person yet. So maybe I just haven’t been dating the right type of person. So I totally get that. It’s fair. All I can say is I’m so grateful to have this opportunity. And I wish Mike and everyone all the love in the world.”

Read more: ‘The Bachelor’: Chris Harrison Says Peter Weber Isn’t the Same Guy From Hannah Brown’s Season of ‘The Bachelorette’