Mike Fleiss, the creator of "The Bachelor" franchise, was asked point blank by a reporter recently, "Will we ever see a bachelor or a bachelorette who is not white?"
Here’s Fleiss’ reply, "I think Ashley is 1/16th Cherokee Indian, but I cannot confirm. But that is my suspicion! We really tried, but sometimes we feel guilty of tokenism. Oh, we have to wedge African-American chicks in there! We always want to cast for ethnic diversity, it’s just that for whatever reason, they don’t come forward. I wish they would."
But Greg Braxton in the Los Angeles Times wrote, "[O]ne of television’s top producers had another word for the absence of minorities on ‘The Bachelor': racism. ‘[T]hey blame minorites [sic] for ‘not coming forward’. What a joke," Shawn Ryan, creator of ‘The Shield’ and Fox’s ‘The Chicago Code,’ wrote on Twitter, discussing Fleiss’ comments. Ryan, whose dramas have included leading and prominent minority characters, maintained the absence was indicative of ‘[s]traight up racism. They just don’t think America will watch black bachelor [sic] or root for mixed-race marriage.’
The Times story notes that Fleiss didn’t make himself available for comment, while Ryan declined to elaborate on his Twitter comment. Both men are white.