‘The Bachelorette’ Says New Season Has ‘A Little More Diversity’ Than Past Years

Before the premiere of season 12 of “The Bachelorette,” the latest installment of ABC’s dating show, was plagued with criticism for appearing to be “too white.”

JoJo Fletcher — the new Bachelorette who made her debut last night on the season premiere — is of Persian descent. But after years of mostly Caucasian Bachelors and Bachelorettes, many viewers were still quick to judge the network for its pick earlier this year, especially after former ABC boss Paul Lee promised a diverse leading lady would helm the summer spinoff.

Speaking to reporters, including Variety, on a recent press call, Fletcher was asked about the ABC franchise failing to become “more diverse.” She said the suitors on her season make up one of the most diverse casts “The Bachelorette” has even seen.

“I will say that we have a great group of men,” Fletcher said. “I think there is a little more diversity in my group, but to be honest, you know, I can’t remember all of the other seasons before me so I don’t know how much diversity was there. But I can definitely say that I have a very diverse group of men that come from very different parts of life and they all just bring a lot to the table.”

On last night’s premiere, which ranked as the night’s most-watched show, Fletcher met a crop of more than 25 men. Only a few were of color, and one was booted off during the rose ceremony. However, in the preview for the upcoming season, Fletcher was seen getting close with Grant, one of the show’s diverse contestants.

“The Bachelor” and “Bachelorette” have been criticized for years for the lack of diversity, both in its crop of contestants, but more so in the leads. Aside from Fletcher, whose mother is Persian, only one non-white lead has been featured in the entire franchise: season 18’s Juan Pablo Galavis, the Latino Bachelor who put the show at the center of controversy with anti-gay remarks.

“We’re doing a whole lot of tweaks. We have the farm team, right, which allows us to then pick the next one,” ABC’s former president Lee told reporters earlier this year, before Channing Dungey took over his position. “But I’d be very surprised if ‘The Bachelorette’ in the summer isn’t diverse. I think that’s likely … The tweaks that Mike Fleiss has put in place will get us where we want to go.”

With only a couple of men of color still standing in Fletcher’s season, the “farm team” is not boasting much diversity for ABC’s “Bachelor” selection when the flagship show returns with season 21 this fall — though, Grant did get a lot of screen time.

More TV

  • Pulse Films Preps Greg Burke Drama

    Pulse Films Goes Nuclear With Drama Series ‘Atomic Bazaar’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    Before the premiere of season 12 of “The Bachelorette,” the latest installment of ABC’s dating show, was plagued with criticism for appearing to be “too white.” JoJo Fletcher — the new Bachelorette who made her debut last night on the season premiere — is of Persian descent. But after years of mostly Caucasian Bachelors and Bachelorettes, many viewers […]

  • Harvey Weinstein

    BBC Orders 'Definitive' Documentary on Harvey Weinstein From Oscar-Winning Producer

    Before the premiere of season 12 of “The Bachelorette,” the latest installment of ABC’s dating show, was plagued with criticism for appearing to be “too white.” JoJo Fletcher — the new Bachelorette who made her debut last night on the season premiere — is of Persian descent. But after years of mostly Caucasian Bachelors and Bachelorettes, many viewers […]

  • A CHRISTMAS STORY LIVE!: L-R: Cast

    TV Review: 'A Christmas Story Live' on Fox

    Before the premiere of season 12 of “The Bachelorette,” the latest installment of ABC’s dating show, was plagued with criticism for appearing to be “too white.” JoJo Fletcher — the new Bachelorette who made her debut last night on the season premiere — is of Persian descent. But after years of mostly Caucasian Bachelors and Bachelorettes, many viewers […]

  • netflix-the-little-prince

    Mediawan Closes In on Acquisition of Dimitri Rassam's ON Kids & Family

    Before the premiere of season 12 of “The Bachelorette,” the latest installment of ABC’s dating show, was plagued with criticism for appearing to be “too white.” JoJo Fletcher — the new Bachelorette who made her debut last night on the season premiere — is of Persian descent. But after years of mostly Caucasian Bachelors and Bachelorettes, many viewers […]

  • Chris MatthewsTime 100 Gala, New York,

    Female Staffer Who Accused Chris Matthews of Sexual Harassment Received Severance from NBC

    Before the premiere of season 12 of “The Bachelorette,” the latest installment of ABC’s dating show, was plagued with criticism for appearing to be “too white.” JoJo Fletcher — the new Bachelorette who made her debut last night on the season premiere — is of Persian descent. But after years of mostly Caucasian Bachelors and Bachelorettes, many viewers […]

  • SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 1734

    'SNL': Alec Baldwin's Donald Trump Declares 'The War on Christmas Is Over' (Watch)

    Before the premiere of season 12 of “The Bachelorette,” the latest installment of ABC’s dating show, was plagued with criticism for appearing to be “too white.” JoJo Fletcher — the new Bachelorette who made her debut last night on the season premiere — is of Persian descent. But after years of mostly Caucasian Bachelors and Bachelorettes, many viewers […]

  • Rupert Murdoch

    21st Century Fox Clarifies Rupert Murdoch's 'Nonsense' Remark About Fox News Sexual Harassment

    Before the premiere of season 12 of “The Bachelorette,” the latest installment of ABC’s dating show, was plagued with criticism for appearing to be “too white.” JoJo Fletcher — the new Bachelorette who made her debut last night on the season premiere — is of Persian descent. But after years of mostly Caucasian Bachelors and Bachelorettes, many viewers […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content