No, Matt James Won't Be on 'Bachelorette' Clare Crawley's Season

Clare Crawley's season of 'The Bachelorette' starts filming in July—but will Matt James, the contestant-turned-Bachelor who was cast for her season, be present?

Matt James
(Image credit: ABC)

In the best news I've heard all year, entrepreneur, real estate broker, and community organization founder Matt James is our new Bachelor—the first Black lead in franchise history. James, Tyler Cameron's BFF and who you've probably seen all over Cameron's Instagram, is also known to the Bachelorverse because he used to be a contestant on Clare Crawley's Bachelorette season. So fans immediately began wondering—is James going to be on The Bachelorette AND The Bachelor? I know it seems confusing, especially with so much in flux right now due to the coronavirus pandemic, so let's break it down.

Was Matt James ever on the Bachelorette?

So, the short answer is no. Entertainment Weekly broke the news, framing it as he used to be a contestant on Crawley's season. Also, if you look at the statement from ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke, it seems pretty cut and dry:

"Matt has been on our radar since February, when producers first approached him to join Bachelor Nation, as part of Clare’s season. When filming couldn’t move forward as planned [due to the pandemic], we were given the benefit of time to get to know Matt and all agreed he would make a perfect Bachelor. We know we have a responsibility to make sure the love stories we’re seeing onscreen are representative of the world we live in and we are proudly in service to our audience. This is just the beginning and we will continue to take action with regard to diversity issues on this franchise. We feel so privileged to have Matt as our first Black Bachelor and we cannot wait to embark on this journey with him."

Also, this, from Reality Steve:

So it seems pretty set. Also, think about it this way: There's no way he'd be on Crawley's season—because the spoilers would be right there. We know she wouldn't select him, because he already has the Bachelor gig lined up. And if it's anything the producers care about, it's not spoiling the ending. So the first time we will really get to meet him is in pre-show interviews and during the show.

Why was there beef between Matt and Clare?

Oh yes, that. Okay, so another reason we know that they didn't hit it off: Crawley wrote during the hiatus before filming: "If you are doing interviews and creating Cameo accounts before you are even on my season... you are in it for the wrong reasons... #dontwasteyourtime." Many fans took this as a veiled attack on James, who had a Cameo account to raise money for those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Though Crawley then backtracked and said that her comments weren't aimed at anyone in particular, the damage was done. Wrote Crawley: "it was about MULTIPLE men and a general thought I was having while we sit here in a real life crisis where someone’s (everyone’s) time + sincerity hold so much weight and value."

Tyler Cameron later weighed in on the whole thing, saying: "She came at my boy a little bit, you know, that tweet...and the funny thing is Matt had a Cameo, but the guy she picked too had a Cameo. So, you know, it’s interesting.” (So much shade!)

But James himself has been super classy about it, writing on Instagram that he's excited for Crawley's season and plans to tune in.

Katherine J. Igoe
Contributing Editor

Katherine’s a contributing syndications editor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle. In her role, she writes stories that are syndicated by MSN and other outlets. She’s been a full-time freelancer for over a decade and has had roles with Cosmopolitan (where she covered lifestyle, culture, and fashion SEO content) and Bustle (where she was their movies and culture writer). She has bylines in New York TimesParentsInStyle, Refinery29, and elsewhere. Her work has also been syndicated by ELLEHarper’s BazaarSeventeenGood Housekeeping, and Women’s Health, among others. In addition to her stories reaching millions of readers, content she's written and edited has qualified for a Bell Ringer Award and received a Communicator Award. 

Katherine has a BA in English and art history from the University of Notre Dame and an MA in art business from the Sotheby's Institute of Art (with a focus on marketing/communications). She covers a wide breadth of topics: she's written about how to find the very best petite jeanshow sustainable travel has found its footing on Instagram, and what it's like to be a professional advice-giver in the modern world. Her personal essays have run the gamut from learning to dress as a queer woman to navigating food allergies as a mom. She also has deep knowledge of SEO/EATT, affiliate revenue, commerce, and social media; she regularly edits the work of other writers. She speaks at writing-related events and podcasts about freelancing and journalism, mentors students and other new writers, and consults on coursework. Currently, Katherine lives in Boston with her husband and two kids, and you can follow her on Instagram. If you're wondering about her last name, it’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.