Jillian Harris Responds to ‘Bachelorette’ Diversity Complaints — Exclusive
However, there has been some discussion in the media about how casting the Dallas beauty goes against the promise former ABC president Paul Lee made months back about a “diverse” Bachelorette.
Outlets have argued over whether swapping half-Filipino Caila Quinn for half-Persian JoJo was the right move — and whether her Middle Eastern background is “diverse” enough.
Wetpaint spoke with former Bachelorette Jillian Harris about the topic this week during her event with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser in NYC, and we got her to weigh in on the controversy — and give her advice for the newest franchise star.
“I think it’s unfair for her to have to address that,” Jillian starts. “If she gets asked to be the Bachelorette, she’s not not going to take it just because she’s not ‘culturally diverse enough.’ You’re going to take that opportunity.”
As for whether the long-running franchise has a diversity issue, the Season 5 star says she’s “the wrong person to answer that,” noting her Caucasian (Canadian and Ukrainian) background.
She adds, “I just don’t want anybody’s feeling to be hurt or people to be left out. But also we’re in an era where everybody gets offended by everything.”
At the end of the day, Jilly (and a lot of America) will be tuning in for JoJo come May 23. And if you have an issue with the casting, take it up with “the Bachelor people,” the HGTV star says.
“She’s cute, she’s awesome, she’s going to make a great Bachelorette,” she gushes.
For the record, Ben and Lauren Bushnell were also asked about the criticism this week, and they’re sticking by their fellow Season 20 castmate.
“First off the bat, JoJo, I think she deserves it,” the 26-year-old hunk explained in a conference call (via Variety). “How they decide on The Bachelorette is not up to me.”
The Bachelorette Season 12 premieres Monday, May 23 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.