There’s always more to it. Matt James spoke out after a candid conversation with his estranged father, Manny James, aired on the Monday, March 8 episode of The Bachelor, urging fans to understand the repercussions of how the conversation was framed.
“Tonight’s convo with my dad was hard to experience, and it’s just as hard to watch all this time later, especially knowing the world is watching with me,” the current Bachelor, 29, wrote in a series of three tweets. “I just wanted to say that too often, we see dangerous stereotypes and negative depictions of Black fathers in media. And they have consequences when presented without context. All I hope is that people watch that conversation with nuance, care, and also an understanding that there are real systemic issues at play. I’m so proud of myself for being vulnerable, and I’m so proud of my mother. I wouldn’t be who I am without my dad. That’s a fact.”
The reality star also shared an article titled “Media Portrayals and Black Male Outcomes” with his followers, which discussed the real life implications tied to how Black men and boys are showcased in media of all types.
In the onscreen conversation, Matt discussed his relationship with his father, who left the family when the Wake Forest alum was a child. The meeting took place before Matt’s fantasy suite dates with his final three contestants: Rachael Kirkconnell, Bri Springs and Michelle Young.
The former research analyst has previously spoken about his relationship with his father, revealing early in the series that his mother, Patty James, raised him and his brother, John, as a single mother.
Matt did not shy away from this fact during his conversation with Manny, going so far as to confront his father about his cheating on his mom.
“I don’t want you to make excuses. … I thank God that she had the courage to stand up for herself and do something because of the situation you put her in,” he said.
Still, the ABC Food Tours mentor did reveal that he wants to have a relationship with his father going forward. Manny, for his part, apologized for his prior wrongdoings.
“It had to get to this point. Whatever I can do to make it better, I’ll work on it. I want you to be happy. … I want you to have a relationship that’s healthy and not what I went through,” he told his son.
“I forgive you. I’m not holding grudges,” Matt replied. “I want us to move forward.”
Much of the criticism surrounding the pair’s conversation had to do with the personal nature of their talk. Following the show, former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay spoke about the meeting on an episode of the “Bachelor Party” podcast.
“I felt it in my soul, and I had to speak out about it because I am so disturbed at what I just watched take place on the Bachelor stage — the conversation between Matt and his father,” the 35-year-old attorney, who was the first Black lead on the show, said. “This conversation may have been necessary for Matt. Maybe Matt did need this, but this was a conversation that should have been just for Matt, not for the rest of the world to see.”
The Bachelor airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.