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Mike Johnson: ‘The Bachelor’ Franchise ‘Needs to Truly Pay Attention’ to Contestants of Color Speaking Out Against Chris Harrison (Exclusive)

There’s a lot of questions about the future of The Bachelor — including Chris Harrison’s role as the host and Matt James’ current status — and Mike Johnson is weighing in on burning Bachelor Nation questions in an exclusive interview with Us Weekly.

Related: Bachelor Nation Reacts to Chris Harrison Interview

“I think that for one, the Bachelor franchise, I believe that a host is definitely needed. … And I think Chris Harrison has been great as the host,” the Bachelorette season 15 alum told Us while promoting his partnership with Schick Hydro. “[But] as the host, he definitely, 100 percent, has had his slip-ups.”

Mike Johnson The Bachelor Needs Pay Attention BIPOC Contestants Chris Harrison
Mike Johnson and Chris Harrison. ABC/John Fleenor; ABC/Craig Sjodin

Harrison, 49, came under fire last month for his defense of season 25 contestant Rachael Kirkconnell, who made headlines for her past racially insensitive actions, including attending an “Old-South”-themed party in 2018. The host, who apologized, subsequently stepped aside from the upcoming After the Final Rose special.

While Harrison made it clear during his appearance on Good Morning America on Thursday, March 4, that he intends to return to the franchise, several contestants, including Serena Pitt and Ivan Hall,have stated they wouldn’t be comfortable filming Bachelor spinoffs if Harrison did indeed return.

Related: 'The Bachelor: Women Tell All’ Revelations

“I’ve been vocal as well,” Johnson told Us. “I think that the franchise needs to truly pay attention to those individuals. I know that people will hear this and say, ‘Well, I don’t think that [and] I want to be heard as well.’ But at times, I feel that those are the ones who are hurt by someone’s words and someone’s actions. We need to make sure that we hear them and protect them.”

ABC confirmed on Saturday, February 27, that Emmanuel Acho is set to host Matt James’ After the Final Rose special, which airs on March 15.

“He knows what he’s talking about. He is educated in this area. He is not scared to have those uncomfortable conversations,” Johnson told Us of Acho. “And by having those uncomfortable conversations, we as a society —despite whatever aspect or thought process you have — having uncomfortable conversations, we can grow together and grow even stronger. And to build a bridge, Emmanuel is going to be awesome at that.”

Johnson knows James, 29, is going to deliver too.

“We spoke offline. I feel comfortable saying Matt is in a great place,” he told Us. “And he understands the weight that is on his shoulders and he will not disappoint.”

Johnson also told Us that he’s spoken to Rachel Lindsay, who deactivated her Instagram account amid harassment from fans as the season 13 Bachelorette was the one who conducted the controversial interview with Harrison for Extra.

“I will always support Rachel, publicly and privately. Her and Bryan [Abasolo],” the “Talking It Out” podcast cohost told Us of the couple. “I love their love. She’s been through it. Rachel is an incredibly strong woman and she is just as strong as ever.”

Related: Contestants Who Were in Talks to Be the Bachelor or Bachelorette

While Johnson confirmed to Us that he’s single, he’s ready to get back out there with the help of his Schick’s Hydro Stubble Eraser.

Mike Johnson The Bachelor Needs Pay Attention BIPOC Contestants
Mike Johnson for Schick’s Hydro Skin Comfort Stubble Eraser. Courtesy of Schick

“If I’m out here trying to give a beautiful young lady my rose, I need to make sure that I shave seven days of stubble without any tugging or pulling. I don’t want any marks on my face,” he said. “So, Schick razor has been wonderful to that aspect. And then quite honestly, just living life — when I look good, I feel good.”

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