Matt James, the star of ABC’s “The Bachelor,” is breaking his silence on the controversy that has enveloped this season of the series.
James, who is the show’s first Black lead bachelor, addressed Chris Harrison’s announcement that he would step aside as the host of the franchise for an undetermined length of time following controversial remarks he made that reignited conversation about the reality franchise’s problematic history regarding issues of race and diversity.
Harrison was being interviewed by Rachel Lindsay, a current Extra host and former star of 2017’s “The Bachelorette,” when he defended a current contestant who was photographed at a plantation-themed fraternity formal in 2018.
“The reality is that I’m learning about these situations in real time, and it has been devastating and heartbreaking to put it bluntly,” James wrote on Instagram. “Chris’s failure to receive and understand the emotional labor that my friend Rachel Lindsay was taking on by graciously and patiently explaining the racist history of the Antebellum South, a painful history that every American should understand intimately, was troubling and painful to watch.” Adding, “As Black people and allies immediately knew and understood, it was a clear reflection of a much larger issue that The Bachelor franchise has fallen short on addressing adequately for years.”
Harrison has since apologized. It’s unclear when or if he will return to the franchise.