‘The Bachelor’: ‘Mike Johnson’ Thinks It’s ‘Atrocious’ That it’s Taken So Long For The Series To Cast More Black Leads

The past couple of years have produced some great content in The Bachelor franchise. From Colton Underwood hopping his fence, to Hannah Brown picking Jed Wyatt as the whole nation screamed, “No!” knowing what he did on the side. And the series has also introduced a lot of great personalities to the world. There’s no denying how successful the franchise is, but it’s hard to look past its very white-washed casting. 

Before Rachel Lindsay’s season of The Bachelorette in 2017, there hadn’t been a person of color as a lead on the franchise, let alone a Black Bachelorette. With Matt James’ casting this summer, he’ll be the first Black Bachelor in 24 seasons and 18 years of the series. For Mike Johnson, that’s a ridiculous track record. 

Mike Johnson and fans toast to the end of an amazing Bachelor season with Smirnoff Seltzer on March 10, 2020.
Mike Johnson and fans toast to the end of an amazing Bachelor season with Smirnoff Seltzer on March 10, 2020 | Jeff Schear/Getty Images for Smirnoff

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Mike Johnson has been a fan-favorite but hasn’t been cast as the Bachelor yet

Johnson first appeared on the franchise during Hannah Brown’s season of The Bachelorette last summer. He made it pretty far, but she sent him home because she could only see him as a friend. 

He then appeared on that season of Bachelor in Paradise, but didn’t really make a lasting romantic relationship there either. 

In an interview with Variety on Aug. 10, Johnson said he was interviewed to be the next Bachelor, but was turned down for Weber in the end. He still doesn’t know why, but was more “annoyed” that producers didn’t tell him he didn’t get it. 

The franchise’s lack of diversity is ‘atrocious’

Lindsay has been very vocal about the lack of diversity in the Bachelor franchise. In June, she wrote that she doesn’t know if she could still be a part of it all with its lack of drive for diversity. And now Johnson is speaking up about it as well. 

“It’s atrocious. There have been numerous, wonderful Black and indigenous people of color that could have been cast in the lead roles, and for the franchise to not to do that, it’s just terrible,” Johnson told Variety. “It should not have taken an outcry from the fans, who I absolutely adore.” 

Johnson pointed out how it seems like there’s “power in numbers” with the fans’ support for more diverse casting. He also hopes ABC listens more. 

“I hope that it’s not just the leads and contestants, but people in charge should also be diverse, as well,” Johnson added. 

Johnson wants to see ‘The Bachelor’ look more like America does

In addition to diversity in front of and behind the camera, Johnson wants The Bachelor to represent the America that exists. 

“[The show is] supposed to be about love, and love comes in all forms and colors — not just white America,” Johnson said. “If the show wants to continue to be absolutely amazing, I would want it to not only be the poster child for the show with The Bachelor or Bachelorette who is diverse but also people from the top down, so the contestants feel like they can relate to someone on the show.” 

Johnson pointed out that this means there should be a lot more people of color cast, and a ton of different sizes as well. He said that when he looks out his window he sees “every color, not a size zero.”

“It needs to be a melting pot on diversity and culture differences because it’s not just about color,” Johnson said. “I would like for the show to represent all of America.”

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