Not soon enough?

Mike Johnson slams The Bachelor franchise for its lack of diversity on the show. The 32-year-old told Variety on Monday, August 10, “It’s atrocious,” in reference to the lack of contestants of color.

“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.”

For many Bachelor fans, Johnson will forever be the one that got away. Fans first met the U.S. Air Force Veteran on season 15 of The Bachelorette when the men were vying for Hannah Brown’s heart, or a rose to get them through to the next round.

Johnson explained that it took the franchise way too long to cast the first Black Bachelor, Matt James.

“It should not have taken an outcry from the fans, who I absolutely adore – that was a clear sign that there is power in numbers,” he stated.

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“I love the fans who signed petitions and things like that, but it shouldn’t have taken that. I hope that they do listen. And I hope that it’s not just the leads and contestants, but people in charge should also be diverse, as well.”

“I want The Bachelor to be a representation of America. It’s supposed to be about love, and loves in all forms and colors – not just White America.”

For years Bachelor Nation has pleaded for Johnson to be the Bachelor, but he says he’s never been approached about being the lead.

“You can win the popular vote, but lose the electoral college vote,” The Bachelorette alum said. “The people in charge didn’t want me for whatever reason.”

The Bachelor and Bachelorette have made slow progress when it comes to diversity on the show. Rachel Lindsay made Bachelor history as the first Black woman lead on season 13 of The Bachelorette in 2017.

James was recently named the new Bachelor, also making him the franchise’s first-ever Black male lead.

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28-year-old James was a former Wake Forest wide receiver who was previously cast to appear on Clare Crawley’s Bachelorette season before it was paused due to COVID-19. James is also BFF’s with Bachelorette alum Tyler Cameron.

After the whirlwind beginning of the newest season of The Bachelorette, which was abruptly put on pause due to the lockdown, Crawley quit the show and announced she was engaged to one of the contestants.

Post Crawley’s departure, former Bachelor contestant Tayshia Adams stepped in as the new leading lady vying for the remaining men’s affection. The 29-year-old reality TV star was first introduced on Colton Underwood‘s season and made another appearance on Bachelor in Paradise. 

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