Ex-“Bachelor” contestant Corinne Olympios is ready to watch Matt James find love on the hit reality TV show, but she thinks a black male lead should have been chosen sooner.
James, 28, was named as the first black lead on “The Bachelor” last week just days after the launch of a fan-fueled petition urging ABC and Warner Bros. to add more diversity to the long-running franchise. Rachel Lindsay, who was “The Bachelorette” in 2017, is the only other black lead the series has had since the show’s inception in 2002.
“I kind of agree with Rachel Lindsay on it felt kind of like you’re just doing it because of what’s going on in the country right now,” Olympios, 28, told Page Six on Friday during a workout with her trainer Joshua Lipsey. “I feel like this should have been something that happened a very long time ago with choosing a black ‘Bachelor.’”
Olympios, who competed in Nick Viall’s season of the show alongside Lindsay, added, “I’m so excited and I’m really happy that it is happening in general, but I do feel like it was kind of like forced … I just want it to be more cultured moving forward anyways, so I’m excited that it’s happening. I’m so excited for him. I think it’s gonna be an amazing season and I can’t wait to watch.”
Last week, Lindsay, 35, told Page Six in a statement that she was happy to see a black man cast and it was “a step in the right direction,” but “would be remiss to not point out that based on the current climate, it feels like a knee-jerk reaction and a result of societal pressure.”
James was first set to compete in Clare Crawley’s upcoming season of “The Bachelorette,” which will start filming in a month after being halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The show’s executive producers said in a statement last week, “We are excited to move forward with both Matt James as the new Bachelor and Clare Crawley as our next Bachelorette. We acknowledge our responsibility for the lack of representation of people of color on our franchise and pledge to make significant changes to address this issue moving forward. We are taking positive steps to expand diversity in our cast, in our staff, and most importantly, in the relationships that we show on television. We can and will do better to reflect the world around us and show all of its beautiful love stories.”