(CNN) – ABC has cast the first black “Bachelor” in its history.
The news comes after a petition urging the network to address a lack of diversity on the enormously popular reality dating franchise.
Matt James will be the star of the show’s 25th season.
The 28-year-old was a popular contestant on season 16 of “The Bachelorette.”
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 dismissed.
Despite the addition, more contestants of color and viewers have continued to criticize the racial disparities in the franchise.
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