'Yes, Peter has a Cuban mom, but let's just be honest -- he's white, right?'
Mike Johnson was ready to shake up the Bachelor franchise -- but it just wasn't ready for him.
On Tuesday night's Bachelor in Paradise finale, Peter Weber was instead announced as the next Bachelor. Some fans were thrilled, and others were disappointed not to see Johnson, a fan favorite from Hannah Brown's season of The Bachelorette, get the gig. The 31-year-old Air Force vet would have been the first black Bachelor.
Now, Johnson is speaking out on Weber's casting to ET, and while he seems to have the potential for new love in his life (he confirmed he went on a date with Demi Lovato), he couldn't help but note the struggles the franchise has faced when it comes to embracing diverse leads. Weber, a 28-year-old Delta pilot, is half-Cuban, but Johnson is ready to see even more representation onscreen.
"I think of diversity more than just black and white. And yes, Peter has a Cuban mom, but let's just be honest -- he's white, right? And that's just being completely transparent," Johnson said. "I think that there should be an Asian lead, an Indian lead... diversity is not just black and white. It's not just salt and pepper."
This comes after Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay voiced similar concerns to ET about a lack of diversity in the show's casting. See Johnson's full interview below.
ET: We have some big Bachelor news to talk about. How are you?
Mike Johnson: I'm amazing. I'm just loving my life right now.
Well, let's get to it -- Peter Weber is the next Bachelor. Former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay spoke about Peter's casting to ET and said she thinks we haven't had a black Bachelor yet because the "system isn't working" for people of color. What's your take on that?
Congratulations to Peter first and foremost. Then in regards to what Rachel was saying, I do agree with Rachel, that after 24 Bachelors, a black Bachelor should have been cast. But at the same time, ABC has been successful. They know what they're doing for their audience. They know what they're looking for. I wasn't the guy they were looking for at the moment.
When did you find out it would be Peter? You told ET at The Bachelorette: Men Tell All you thought it would be him...
I did [say I thought it was going to be him], but that wasn't because ABC told me. I just felt that way, and I will always be honest with the way I feel, and I felt that for what they were looking for, that Peter would be a really good fit.
Well, what were they looking for? And why wasn't it you?
Why do I think it wasn't me? I have no idea. I can only speak on my personality and the wonderful man that I am. I do know that Peter and I are two completely different people -- both good people, kind-hearted people. But I do feel that I'm a bit more outspoken than Peter. I'm a bit louder than Peter is. I have tattoos, and the obvious, I'm black, so we are very diverse and different in that regard as well. And we like different women. I want to make sure the focus is centered around love because that's what this show is about. So, Peter and I also are attracted to two different types of women as well.
During her interview with ET, Rachel discussed Peter's recently announced pool of contestants. A white Bachelor could mean more white contestants, and a higher likelihood of a white Bachelorette -- so does the cycle continue? What can the franchise do to up the diversity and give more people of color a shot at becoming the lead?
Great question. Two parts on that -- I think of diversity more than just black and white. And yes, Peter has a Cuban mom, but let's just be honest -- he's white, right? And that's just being completely transparent. I think that there should be an Asian lead, an Indian lead... diversity is not just black and white. It's not just salt and pepper.
I feel that Rachel is extremely intelligent. She's saying that from a statistical standpoint... if Peter likes one thing -- not saying what he does like and he doesn't like -- but if he likes Caucasian women for example, then there may be a higher percentage of it being a Caucasian Bachelorette. But I do know for a fact that ABC chooses based on personality... who's to say that one of the women of color may not be the Bachelorette next? But on Peter's season, he may have a higher likelihood of picking a woman who is Caucasian.
Fans are searching for meaning in why you weren't picked to be the Bachelor. Some have pointed out that you weren't emotional enough on Bachelor in Paradise, a la Colton Underwood's memorable breakdown before his casting as the Bachelor. What do you say to that?
My answer is so emotionally tied to that. I think that's quite honestly ignorant for someone to say because I am an emotional person. The fact that I don't cry on a drop of a dime doesn't make me any less or more emotional than Colton, as you point out, or Peter, or any other man or woman, for that matter. My grandma and my mom have taught me that everyone deals with different moments of tragedy or sadness differently. So, the way I chose to do it was to internalize it and to talk to my friends when I got home, and talk to my loved ones. If tears would have came, I wouldn't have held back. But I don't think that has anything to do with them not choosing me, because I've cried. That's just ignorance.
We are looking forward to seeing some new love in your life. You went on a date with Demi Lovato. What can you tell us about it, and where do things stand now? Will you double date with Tyler Cameron and Gigi Hadid?
Demi Lovato and I went on a date. The woman is quite astounding and amazing, and that's all I'll say on that.
Weber's season of The Bachelor premieres Monday, Jan. 6 on ABC. See more in the video below, and join ET's Bachelor Nation Facebook group here.
'Bachelor in Paradise' Finale: Breaking Down the Blake Drama, a Surprise Proposal and New 'Bachelor' Reveal
Rachel Lindsay Says 'System Isn't Working' for People of Color After Peter Weber 'Bachelor' Reveal (Exclusive)