ABC casts Matt James as first black ‘Bachelor’

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Matt James will make history as the first black “Bachelor” during the show’s upcoming 25th season.

The show, often criticized for its lack of diversity, confirmed the 28-year-old will be the star of the upcoming season.

James, a real estate broker from North Carolina, previously appeared during season 16 of “The Bachelorette.” He also played football at Wake Forest University and briefly played in the NFL.

A Change.org petition urging ABC to address a lack of diversity on “The Bachelor” and its lead spinoff, “The Bachelorette,” garnered support from thousands, including franchise alums.

The petition mentioned that in 18 years and 40 seasons, the show has had only one black lead.

The discussion about a lack of inclusion in the franchise is not a new one. In 2012, two African American men filed a class-action lawsuit alleging that ABC was intentionally excluding people of color from leading the show after they both applied to be “The Bachelor” in 2011.

That suit was later dismissed.

CNN Newsource contributed to this copy.

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