Rachel Lindsay Criticizes 'The Bachelor' for Not Picking Mike Johnson as First Black Lead

Rachel Lindsay, who was the first black Bachelorette, was an early advocate for Mike Johnson to become the next franchise lead

Rachel Lindsay has some thoughts on Peter Weber’s Bachelor casting.

After Weber was announced as the new Bachelor during Tuesday night’s Bachelor in Paradise finale, Lindsay expressed her disappointment in the franchise seemingly passing over Mike Johnson 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. 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 has been “hanging out” with singer Demi Lovato, a source recently told PEOPLE.)

“For the first time, I was very confident that we were going to see our first black Bachelor,” she explained. “And so if no one else is going to speak on it, then I guess it’s my duty to say it.”

Rachel Lindsay, Mike Johnson
John Fleenor via Getty; Walt Disney Television via Getty

Fans were especially hopeful that they would see Johnson hand out roses after Chris Harrison said he stood a solid chance of taking the lead next season. And when he left Bachelor in Paradise single, many thought his fate was sealed — including Lindsay.

“I want to be hopeful, but when you have a contestant like Mike Johnson, who seems to check all the boxes, how is he not the Bachelor? I don’t understand,” she said.

Lindsay called for the franchise to make some serious changes in their casting practices.

“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 said. “Something has to be done. Break the rules, step outside the box, give the people what they want!”

And while Weber is half-Cuban, Lindsay predicted he’d attract mostly white contestants, who then become the contenders for The Bachelorette.

“The Bachelor is in charge of saying what they’re interested in and what they’re not. Some people don’t know that — they do ask you,” Lindsay said. “You’ve seen some of the girls that Peter’s dated. It came out before, his girlfriend was in the news from the past, before Hannah. So, you know what his type is at this point. And so, I expect girls to look more like Hannah than they do like me or someone else of color.”

Peter Weber
ABC/John Fleenor

But the former attorney still said she is excited to see Weber as the Bachelor and even offered him a piece of advice.

“What I will say [to him] is, ignore the noise, including the noise that I’m giving. He’s going to be a fantastic Bachelor. People just need to get over the fact that we thought something was going to happen that didn’t happen,” Lindsay said. “But once he ignores all that, just be yourself, be open to love, and you can’t lose.”

On Tuesday, Weber said he’s ready to take on the challenge of dating 30 women in hopes of finding his future wife.

“It’s still hitting me right now, and I feel so grateful right now just to have this opportunity in front of me,” Weber, 27, told Chris Harrison at the end of Tuesday night’s BiP reunion.

“I feel emotional right now. This is crazy. This is life-changing. I have truly, my entire life, looked forward to finding my girl, and that first person that I cannot wait to spend the rest of my life with. … I have all the faith in the world that this can work for me, and I know it’s going to,” he said.

Season 24 of The Bachelor will premiere on Jan. 6, 2020 on ABC.

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