‘The Bachelor’: Peter Weber Addresses the Lack of Diversity in the Franchise — Sort Of

In September 2019, ABC announced Peter Weber as the next bachelor of the 2020 season. However, the news was met with a rush of critiques against ABC’s heavily white casting, especially since fans across the nation campaigned for Mike Johnson to become the first black bachelor. And recently, ahead of the season 24 premiere on Jan. 6, Weber opened up about the lack of diversity within The Bachelor franchise. And it seems the new bachelor believes the criticisms are “totally fair.”

Fans call for more diversity in ‘The Bachelor’ franchise

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I accepted the final rose!!

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After The Bachelorette reunion taping, The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Chris Harrison. The host shared his thoughts on frontrunners for The Bachelor Season 24 lead and gave fans hope that Johnson was in the running as the first black bachelor.

“Everyone’s excited about Mike here tonight,” Harrison said. “I love him. The smile, the charm, the sincerity, the maturity. He’s a great man and I feel like he’s a dear friend of mine already, so he’s a great candidate and he’s definitely going to be in the mix.”

Meanwhile, Johnson told the publication that it’s “100 percent time to have a black bachelor.”

Then in August, ABC president Karey Burke admitted the network was working on diversity within The Bachelor franchise.

“I can tell you, the conversations are ongoing about who the next Bachelor will be. I do think that the show has worked hard to increase diversity in casting. And, as that evolves, we’ll continue to see more diversity in the franchise.

ABC chooses Peter Weber over Mike Johnson as ‘The Bachelor’ Season 24 lead

During the Bachelor in Paradise Season 6 finale, Johnson wasn’t announced as the next bachelor. Instead, Weber was given the leading role. Given the excitement over Johnson, many fans expressed their disappointment in ABC’s choice not to cast Johnson as the first black bachelor. And following the announcement, the first and only black bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay, spoke with Entertainment Tonight about Weber’s casting.

“I think Peter seems like a very nice guy. He seems lovely. This is absolutely nothing against him,” Lindsay said. “But how many Peters have we seen before? What season are we on? 24. So, we’ve seen 24 Peters. I’m bored. And it’s nothing personal against him.”

She continued: “I’m sure they have some reason for not picking [Johnson], and I’m going to trust in that, but at the same time, the system isn’t working in giving us a bachelor who is a person of color. So we need to change the system. Something has to be done. Break the rules, step outside the box, give the people what they want!”

The Bachelor Peter Weber visits "Extra" at Burbank Studios on September 17, 2019 in Burbank, California.
Peter Weber | Noel Vasquez/Getty Images

Meanwhile, on Sept. 18, Johnson shared his thoughts on why he wasn’t chosen as the new bachelor during an interview with Entertainment Tonight.

“I can only speak on my personality and the wonderful man that I am,” Johnson said. “I do know that Peter and I are two completely different people — both good people, kind-hearted people. But I do feel that I’m a bit more outspoken than Peter. I’m a bit louder than Peter is. I have tattoos, and the obvious, I’m black, so we are very diverse and different in that regard as well.”

Johnson also acknowledged Weber is half-Cuban — but still white-passing. And ultimately, Johnson called for more diversity within The Bachelor franchise.

“I think of diversity more than just black and white. And yes, Peter has a Cuban mom, but let’s just be honest — he’s white, right? And that’s just being completely transparent,” he said. “I think that there should be an Asian lead, an Indian lead… diversity is not just black and white. It’s not just salt and pepper.”

Peter Weber opens up about the lack of diversity in ‘The Bachelor’ casting

On Dec. 24, Entertainment Tonight released an interview with Weber. The publication asked the new bachelor to address fans who wanted to see Johnson as the first black bachelor and how he felt about the critiques in regards to the level of diversity within the franchise.

“Totally fair, totally get where everyone’s coming from,” Weber said. “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 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.”

But while it seems Weber understands the importance of diversity within The Bachelor franchise, he can only speak for his own experiences.

“At the end of the day, I know it’s tough. It has to be brought up. I’m all for diversity and I’m excited for this journey and maybe date some diverse women that I haven’t dated before,” he 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’: Are Hannah Brown and Peter Weber Still Together?