Mike Johnson: The Bachelor Casting a Black Male Lead ‘Shouldn’t Have Taken an Outcry from Fans’

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"I didn’t get the feeling that they were interviewing me because I was Black. I can honestly say, without any doubt, that they interviewed me because they thought I was a great candidate, just like the rest of the guys," he noted, before adding, "and I conveyed to them that I would absolutely love" being the first Black Bachelor.

"I wouldn’t be shy about it, and I’d go out in front of it. I brought up Tiger Woods, Eminem and Serena Williams because the three of those people are in areas that are not predominantly with people in their race, but they’ve all crushed it, so I told the people who were interviewing me that I would do the same," he said. "I’m like no other Bachelor in the past — I’m not white, I have tattoos, I’m a veteran of the Air Force and I speak my mind."

The former Bachelor in Paradise contestant also spoke about the news that  Tayshia Adams is replacing Crawley on season 16 of The Bachelorette. (Multiple sources have confirmed the switch to PEOPLE.)

"I am just baffled, like everyone else is. I’m friends with some of them, but I haven’t reached out to them. I’m just watching and reading the news, like everyone else," he said.

Johnson is excited to see Adams find love on the show, but he said he doesn't think her taking Crawley's place had anything to do with her being a Black woman.

"Tayshia is awesome. She’s a wonderful human being. I’ve spoken to her many times on TV and off TV. I’m obviously a proponent for representation — if she’s the new Bachelorette, which it seems almost certain that she is Bachelorette — this is wonderful," he said. "And I know she wants love, I know she’s extremely thoughtful in her process of thinking things through and she loves to have fun. She’s a wonderful catch. Those suitors will have a great time with Tayshia."

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