The Bachelorette star Mike Johnson has praised Matt James after his season as the first Black lead on The Bachelor ended up being marred in racism controversies.
The Bachelor Nation alum reflected on the difficult decision Matt was forced to make, as it’s been confirmed that the reality star ended his relationship with season 25 winner Rachael Kirkconnell over racially insensitive actions from her past.
Speaking exclusively to Metro.co.uk, Mike – who appeared on Hannah Brown’s season of The Bachelorette in 2019 – stated: ‘I’ve talked to Matt offline a few times. Matt is a strong individual and I can tell you that he’s in good spirits.
‘He was a great lead and he’s made his decision on what he wants to do with his relationship.’
Mike continued: ‘I think Matt is handling it extremely well. He has opened up on the show, I loved to see it.’
The 33-year-old, who had been a fan-favorite to become the first Black male lead, mused on how he might have handled the situation as he continued: ‘This could have been me. But if I fell in love with someone, if I say the words “I love you”, I personally wouldn’t break up with someone for something that could have happened a few years ago.’
The Talking It Out podcast host also called for fans to give Rachael the chance to grow from her mistakes as she said: ‘Rachael was younger, she did mess up and she has apologized for it. She’s not the leader of the whole show so let’s allow her to grow.
‘Me as a black man, if I do something wrong, I don’t want you to hate me for life. I could learn from the situation and grow and become better. That’s how we build bridges, that’s how we build ties and make allies. That’s how we grow stronger together.’
The Bachelor in Paradise star continued: ‘I don’t know anything about her except for what happened. I hate that for her. I feel bad for her in that regard.’
The Bachelor to stream on hayu in the UK.