Even before we got the delightful news that Matt James is the new Bachelor and first Black lead in show history, we knew who he was: He's Bachelorette alum Tyler Cameron's BFF and he was scheduled to be a contestant on Clare Crawley's Bachelorette season later this year. Not only that, but Crawley and James may have indirectly had some early, pre-show beef—it's not confirmed, but there are some tweets and posts that seem to link the two to a disagreement over social media activity. (Will it make Bachelor networking events awkward, do you think??) Here's what we know about it so far, and we'll keep the post updated if things change.
Who was Clare tweeting about?
So, this all started when Crawley, who's been vocal on social media about what she needs and wants in her season, subtweeted someone on her season. For context, Cameo is a video messaging platform where celebs can send messages to fans.
Fans were quick to point out that James was on Cameo—but that his work there was to raise money for those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. James has done a ton of charitable work, especially through his ABC Food Tours community organization.
What did Clare and Matt say?
On his Instagram Stories (now expired), James said in a message, "Now, for those of you who may have missed the messaging earlier this week, myself and Alex Bachman...pledged all of our Cameo earnings to the Robin Hood Foundation to fight this fight," according to E! News. "We're just coming up with creative ways to raise money for these kids that are the future and I hope y'all can help." He did not appear to reference anything (or anyone) in particular, but the timing seemed more than a coincidence.
In response to a fan reply insinuating that her tweet was unfair against James, Crawley clarified that her comment was actually about multiple people:
And then Chris Harrison weighed in, telling Entertainment Tonight:
"First of all, everyone relax about the whole charity thing. Clare's not against charity, she's not against Matt doing charity. That's fantastic and Matt, good on you for doing something during this quarantine that's positive. But with that said, she's not specifically talking about Matt, she's just saying she's living under a certain set of guidelines and rules because she's the Bachelorette. She's kind of already in our family, and she's been respecting that. These guys aren't living under those guidelines, because they're not really part of our thing yet. And so they're out living their life, and they're kind of using having been picked to be on The Bachelorette as a bit of a bouncing point... so I think she's just like, 'Look, I wish everybody would respect the rules. We all play by the same rules, so when you come in, there is a sense of innocence and naivety and we can actually got through this.'..She's not mad at Matt, and it's all good. And she's not mad at anybody doing things for charity first of all, don't get mad at Clare."
And then Tyler Cameron himself weighed in, 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.” (Hmm.)
But James has been publicly supportive of Crawley's season, writing on Instagram: "I'm tuned in! She is gonna be great.”
Did Clare know about James' season?
Another interesting twist: Crawley didn't comment about James' season when the announcement was made, which felt...fishy. Us Weekly reported that Crawley "wasn’t given any heads up" and found out that James was becoming the Bachelor the way that everybody else did: Twitter.
However! ABC denies these claims. Its head of alternative programming, Rob Mills, said: “Somebody said something to Us Weekly that she did not know—that she found out on GMA. Of course we would never do that to Clare. She found out the day before."