• ABC network finally announced the newest bachelor
  • Matt James is the first black lead for “The Bachelor”
  • James was already in ABC’s radar even before the protests, says ABC executive
  • James was also chosen not because of Rachel Lindsay’s comment

Matt James was chosen as the new “The Bachelor” not because of the Black Lives Matter movement nor Rachel Lindsay’s comment, according to ABC network.

ABC executive Rob Mills said that James was already on their radar. He would’ve been in Clare Crawley’s “The Bachelorette” season if not for the COVID-19 pandemic that halted the show’s production, Variety exclusively reported.

Mills, who oversees the “The Bachelor” franchise at ABC network, reportedly added that James’ casting was not in response to Rachel Lindsay’s statement about cutting ties with the network if a Black bachelor was not cast.

“I was hoping when I came to be a trailblazer for that," Rachel Lindsay said during her interview with Good Morning America.

Lindsay, who took the lead in “The Bachelorette” season 13, has hoped to promote the diversity in the show. Unfortunately, it hasn't been much of a change within the last three years.

“The Bachelor" began airing nearly two decades ago. After 40 seasons, there was only one black lead in the show; hence, the start of anti-racism in “The Bachelor” franchise.

A campaign circulated through According to the petition, the show has been the most popular and influential franchise on television. Hence, “The Bachelor” should reflect and honor the racial diversity of the U.S., whether on or off-camera.

James was supposed to be one of Crawley’s suitors in the upcoming season of “The Bachelorette” but ABC said they thought of a bigger role for the 28-year-old rising star. Mills revealed that the “talk” about James’ role happened for quite some time but they only finalized the decision recently.

ABC is aware of the current situation and hopes that this announcement will serve as “a bit of optimism.”

Mills also said that it took a while for them to get to where they’re currently at and would continue to go further.

As for Lindsay's recent statement, James said that when Lindsay spoke, they listened. The new bachelor told Good Morning America that he acknowledged how impactful Lindsay’s voice was, Entertainment Tonight reported.

James expressed his support for the Black Lives Matter movement. He even attended rallies for racial equality.

James reportedly went to Wake Forest University with “The Bachelorette’s” Tyler Cameron. He used to play football and was a graduate of Economics.