Tyler Cameron couldn't be more excited for his best friend, Matt James, to find love. The 28-year-old research analyst became the Bachelor franchise's first-ever black lead on Thursday. The news was shared on Good Morning America, days after a petition was created by Bachelor fans to cast a black lead for season 25.
James is the first Bachelor in 12 years to be cast without appearing on a previous season of The Bachelorette. He was previously announced as a contestant on Clare Crawley's season of The Bachelorette, though due to coronavirus, the cycle halted production in March before Crawley even met her men at the Bachelor mansion. The franchise later announced they were recasting some men for the season due to scheduling.
Cameron revealed that he was with James during his GMA interview by posting a behind-the-scenes video. "Let's go," he wrote.
He later posted a congratulatory message along with a pic of him sleeping on James' shoulder. "Congrats to my brother @mattjames919 on being named the Bachelor. This is all a testament of who you are as a person," he wrote. "Now the world gets to see the person you are and the heart you have. You can change the world. Proud of you and so excited for you. Not excited that somebody will be taking my spot as your snuggle buddy 😢 . PS peep the drool 🤤"
Former Bachelorette and Cameron's ex, Hannah Brown, got on her Instagram Story right when she woke up to react to the news. "What the heck?! Matt James is the Bachelor," she exclaimed. "...I could not be more excited. Y'all should be so freaking excited because he's, like, the best human being in the entire world. ...Y'all, this is amazing."
She added, "So proud of you, Matt James!"
Brown also posted a pic of James' official Bachelor photo, along with the message, "I've never been more excited about a lead being announced in this franchise."
"I just want to give a huge shout out to Matt James," he began. "I definitely texted him earlier but I want to show him love and shout him out publicly as well."
Johnson also gave "a huge shout out to ABC" for finally casting a black man on the show. "They listened to us, I'm giving you guys a shout out, the fans. ...You guys marched and sent all these emails, I'm sure. ...Your guys' voice is definitely being heard."
Congrats Matt James! Our Bachelor family is thrilled to start this journey with our new Bachelor! We can and we will do better to portray diverse love stories that reflect the world around us. This is just the beginning pic.twitter.com/mI7mbR06zD
This is great news!! Annoying that people will always find something to complain about. You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t. Regardless, we’ll done @BachelorABC and good luck Matt!! https://t.co/LAFCmHMOXH
Before Thursday, former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay was the only black lead in the Bachelor franchise's 18-year history. The Bachelor had previously cast two Hispanic leads, Juan Pablo Galavis and Peter Weber. Fans were hoping they would see the first black Bachelor with Mike Johnson last year; the portfolio manager and Air Force veteran was a fan favorite from Hannah Brown's season of The Bachelorette, but Weber won the Bachelor gig instead.
In addition to the fan petition -- which was signed by Bachelor alums like Cameron, Nick Viall, Seinne Fleming, Lauren Burnham and more -- the franchise was also recently called out by Lindsay. The attorney and Bachelor Happy Hour podcast host had threatened to cut ties with The Bachelor unless they made real strides towards diversity and released a statement addressing their "systemic racism."
"Since the blog, no, I haven't heard from anyone," Lindsay told ET on Tuesday. "In the past week, yes. I have heard from an executive producer just saying that they hear me and they want to make changes."
"It does [feel good], but this isn't my first rodeo with hearing an executive producer say, 'We want to make some changes.' I believe you want to, or I used to believe you want to. But I'm not seeing anything," she added. "I've been affiliated with this franchise for almost four years and I hear you. But I'm not seeing any action behind those words."
Lindsay said she expected to see the franchise address her suggestions within the next week.
"I have talked to some producers and I have said that I'll leave if they don't make changes. So it's conditional, so I'm waiting to see what changes are made. To date, they haven't made any type of statement, which baffles me," she shared.
"So many companies have made statements in regard to what is happening in our country and I thought for sure we'll get [a statement from The Bachelor] before [The Greatest Seasons -- Ever!] airs, and we haven't," Lindsay said. "I'm trying to be patient and wait and give them an opportunity to respond and see how they respond. Then I'll make my decision [about whether to leave] after that."