‘The Bachelor’: Matt James Says He Will ‘Never’ Do Another ‘Bachelor’ Show

Once someone enters the Bachelor franchise, fans can usually expect to see them on a number of spinoffs and specials for years to come. But that doesn’t seem like it will be the case with Matt James. Unlike most Bachelor leads, James never appeared on a Bachelor show before he became the lead. Now, he has revealed that he does not plan on being on any more shows within the franchise.

Matt James filming ‘The Bachelor’ Season 25 in 2021 at the Nemacolin Resort.
Matt James from ‘The Bachelor’ Season 25 | ABC/Craig Sjodin

Matt James and Rachael Kirkconnell

As the first Black Bachelor, James felt a lot of pressure to choose a person who would make his supporters happiest but ultimately he decided to just follow his heart when choosing a partner. Unfortunately, the partner he chose turned out to have racially charged incidents in her past. During the season, photos of contestant Rachael Kirkconnell at an antebellum party began surfacing.

“It felt like an extended honeymoon period,” James said of his time with Kirkconnell before he found out about the photos. “It was super, it was great. Initially, it started out how you would imagine.”

When he saw the pictures and Kirkconnell apologized, James realized that he wasn’t going to be able to get past the issue.

“And I wasn’t okay, because it was in that moment and the conversation that I had that Rachael might not understand what it means to be Black in America,” he said.

“If you don’t understand that something like that is problematic in 2018, there’s a lot of me that you won’t understand,” he continued. “And it’s as simple as that.”

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James also made it clear that he didn’t see himself and Kirkconnell getting back together.

“The feelings that I have for you don’t go away overnight,” he told her. “And seeing you like this hurts. But then I ask myself, like, I don’t want to be emotionally responsible for those tears ’cause it’s like, the work and the reconciliation that needs to be done is work that I can’t do for you. And I know that you’re capable of doing it.”

Matt is done with the franchise

Besides ending his relationship with Kirkconnell, James has also been frustrated with how the franchise handled the photo controversy. Host Chris Harrison infamously took a break from the franchise after receiving backlash for defending Kirkconnell and her attendance at the Old South party. Since then, everyone has been looking to the select few Black people in the franchise for answers.

“That’s what was kind of frustrating to me because I felt like a lot of that teaching and learning was put on me,” Matt said on The Bill Simmons Podcast. “That’s why Black people in all these different situations are exhausted by the emotional labor that goes into having to explain [things to people]. That’s not our job.”

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James went on to say that he would never be involved in another Bachelor season.

“I’m not going to be dating,” he said.

“I’m solely focused on getting back to that meaningful work in the community and centering myself around projects that are going to elevate all the work I’ve been doing in the city, special interest things that I appreciate outside reality television,” he continued.