Johnson previously told ET that 'a black Bachelor should have been cast.'
While some viewers couldn't wait for the 28-year-old pilot to get another shot at finding love, others were disappointed not to see seeming Bachelor frontrunner Mike Johnson nab the lead spot. The veteran would have been the first African American Bachelor.
As Weber told ET's Lauren Zima during an exclusive tour of the Bachelor mansion on night one of filming in September, he understands "where everyone's coming from."
"I love Mike," he shared, before explaining his decision to accept the gig.
"A, I didn't make this decision, right? I was very grateful to accept it and move forward, but listen, regardless of race, of identity or whatnot, everybody is deserving of love. And I'm not the only person," he said. "Mike would've been a great Bachelor. Tyler [Cameron] could have been a great Bachelor. They picked me and I'm very excited and very humbled and I can't wait for this journey to begin."
During a September interview with ET, Johnson said he was hoping to see more diversity and representation on The Bachelor. "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."
Johnson added that "after 24 seasons, a black Bachelor should have been cast," but said that ABC "knows what they're doing for their audience." He also offered his congratulations to Weber.
The half-Cuban Bachelor (the series' second-ever Hispanic lead) told ET that he expected the issue of race to be brought up. "I'm all for diversity and I'm excited for this journey to maybe date some diverse women that I haven't dated before," he shared. "I haven't found my person yet, so maybe I just haven't been dating the right type of person."
"I totally get [the criticism], it's fair. All I can say is I'm so grateful to have this opportunity and I wish you know Mike and everyone all the love in the world," he added.
The Bachelor premieres Monday, Jan. 6 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. See more on what to expect from Weber's season in the video below.
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