Mike Johnson Called Out ABC for Failing to Cast a Non-White Bachelor
Peter Weber, a.k.a. Pilot Pete, was cast as the Bachelor last week.
A day after Weber was announced as the new Bachelor during Tuesday night’s Bachelor in Paradise finale, Johnson opened up about the decision to Entertainment Tonight and admitted why he felt like having a Black or Asian Bachelor was long overdue.
“I think of diversity [as] more than just black and white,” Johnson, 31, explained to the outlet. “And yes, Peter has a Cuban mom, but let’s just be honest: he’s white, right? And that’s just being completely transparent.”
“I think that there should be an Asian lead, an Indian lead … diversity is not just black and white. It’s not just salt and pepper,” he continued.
When asked why he thought ABC chose Weber, 27, over him, Johnson said he had “no idea” but pointed out how they were “two completely different people — both good people, kind-hearted people.”
“I do feel that I’m a bit more outspoken than Peter. I’m a bit louder than Peter is,” he explained. “I have tattoos, and the obvious — I’m black — so we are very diverse and different in that regard, as well.”
“After 24 Bachelors, a black Bachelor should have been cast,” Johnson added. “But at the same time, ABC has been successful. They know what they’re doing for their audience. They know what they’re looking for. I wasn’t the guy they were looking for at the moment.”
Johnson’s comments come on the heels of former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay expressing her disappointment in the franchise for seemingly passing over the San Antonio, Texas-based portfolio manager as the next lead.
“I think Peter seems like a very nice guy. He seems lovely. This is absolutely nothing against him, but how many Peters have we seen before? What season are we on? 24. So, we’ve seen 24 Peters,” Lindsay told Entertainment Tonight. “I’m bored. And it’s nothing personal against him.”
Lindsay, who became the first (and so far, only) Black Bachelorette in 2017, said her frustrations stem from the franchise’s lack of diversity and called on them to make some serious changes in their casting practices.
Had Johnson been cast, he would have made history as the first black man and the first military veteran to become the Bachelor. (Of course, he may not actually be single; he recently confirmed that he went on a date with singer Demi Lovato.)
“For the first time, I was very confident that we were going to see our first black Bachelor,” Lindsay, 34, explained. “And so if no one else is going to speak on it, then I guess it’s my duty to say it.”
“I’m sure they have some reason for not picking him, and I’m going to trust in that, but at the same time, the system isn’t working in giving us a Bachelor who is a person of color. So we need to change the system,” she added. “Something has to be done. Break the rules, step outside the box, give the people what they want!”
During Wednesday’s interview with Entertainment Tonight, Johnson brought up Lindsay’s sentiments, including her prediction that Weber would attract mostly white contestants, who then become the contenders for The Bachelorette, and said he fully agreed with her.
“I feel that Rachel is extremely intelligent,” he shared with the outlet. “She’s saying that from a statistical standpoint… if Peter likes one thing — not saying what he does like and he doesn’t like — but if he likes Caucasian women for example, then there may be a higher percentage of it being a Caucasian Bachelorette.”
Still, because ABC chooses contestants based on their personalities, Johnson said he’s not ruling out a possibility of more diversity in the next season.
“Who’s to say that one of the women of color may not be the Bachelorette next?” a hopeful Johnson asked.
Season 24 of The Bachelor will premiere on Jan. 6, 2020 on ABC.
This article originally appeared on People. For more stories like this, visit people.com.