“I just wanna give a huge shout-out to Matt James as the new Bachelor. Congratulations, bro! I definitely [texted] him earlier, but I wanna show him love and shout him out publicly as well,” the veteran, 32, said in a Friday, June 12, Instagram video. “I wanna give also a huge shout-out to ABC. They listened to us. … I’m giving you guys a shout-out — the fans. Love you guys so much. They listened to you guys. You guys marched and, like, sent all these emails, I’m sure, and tagged Chris [Harrison] and tagged [creator] Mike Fleiss and tagged everybody that be, and they listened to you guys. [I] wanna say give yourself a pat on the back, seriously. That’s amazing. Your guys’ voices are definitely being heard.”
Johnson reiterated that he is not upset by the decision. “Don’t feel bad for me at all,” he assured. “I am just so elated. I have so many things coming down the pipeline. I hope that you enjoy my book. I have so much to talk about in it. And just, quite honestly, be happy, baby. Don’t say nothing bad about my homie. Matt’s gonna do a great job. And just know that they listened to us. We got a black lead, which is an amazing thing.”
He concluded: “Let’s not forget, baby [Clare Crawley’s] coming first. So, baby, we love you. We can’t wait for you to find your spouse. And then, Matt, do your thing, homie.”
The Bachelor announced James, 28, as the season 25 lead on Friday. The real estate broker was initially part of Crawley’s cast for season 16 of The Bachelorette, but due to the coronavirus-induced production shutdown, filming has yet to begin.
Rachel Lindsay revealed earlier this week that she questioned producers as to why they did not choose the portfolio manager. “They do all kinds of background checks and vet things out,” the former Bachelorette, 35, told Entertainment Tonight on Tuesday, June 9. “I have no idea what the reason was, but they have it. I’m told they have a reason.”
Johnson notably dated Demi Lovato after competing on The Bachelorette. The duo sparked rumors in September 2019, but Us Weekly confirmed the following month that they “pumped the brakes” on their romance, which, according to a source, was “never a serious, full-blown relationship.” She has since moved on with Max Ehrich.