During Monday night’s premiere of “The Bachelorette” season 19, Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia met the 32 men who would pursue their final roses. Given what the two ladies experienced at the end of “The Bachelor” with Clayton Echard, it was not a surprise to see him referenced during the limousine exits and introductions. However, plenty of fans, along with Echard and his “Bachelor” love Susie Evans, were not necessarily impressed.
As “The Bachelor” fans know, Echard’s season got quite messy toward the end. He was intimate with both Windey and Recchia during his Fantasy Suite overnight dates, and when Evans learned this, she quit. Echard begged Recchia and Windey to stick around, just to ultimately dump them because he knew he was in love with Evans. That wild ending prompted producers to choose both Recchia and Windey to be dual “Bachelorette” leads, and their incoming suitors repeatedly incorporated that messy “Bachelor” ending into their entrances.
Fans Found One Stunt Especially Cringeworthy
As Us Weekly recapped, multiple incoming bachelors used Echard as a punching bag in order to make an impression on the “Bachelorette” ladies. As Johnny DePhillipo met the ladies, he referred to Echard as a “piece of s***” during a rap he created. Jasaon Alabaster immediately told Windey and Recchia he had something in common with Echard, as he was in love with three women. Luckily, he didn’t let that statement linger too long, as he clarified he meant his mother, his sister, and his dog. In addition, Hayden Markowitz tried to make an impression by referencing Echard, and his attempt fell flat. Ethan Kang juggled, and dropped, three apples, and told the ladies, “Clearly I can’t juggle two women, but I promise you I can be quite the catch.”
One suitor, Alec Garza, was especially bold in bringing up Echard. He brought a four-person youth choir to sing a song, and that song was specifically about how much the former “Bachelor” “sucked.” Windey and Recchia went along with it, but not everybody loved it. “The guy who had the whole choir song about clayton would have made me eliminate him first round of #TheBachelorette,” noted one viewer on Twitter. “Eew stop talking about Clayton… the choir is so CRINGE,” tweeted someone else. A third noted, “All these Clayton jokes are soooo…. Annoying and immature. Like really a children’s choir?”
Echard Refuses to Give The Negativity Power Over Him
Even former “Bachelorette” Katie Thurston tweeted about the Echard references. “I’m actually not ok with the Clayton slander at all… disappointing.” Another viewer observed via Twitter, “The bachelor: we don’t condone bullying/hate speech. #TheBachelorette: let’s have kids sing about how Clayton sucks.”
How do Echard and Evans feel about it? They watched “The Bachelorette” premiere, and shared their thoughts with Kaitlyn Bristowe during her “Off the Vine” podcast. Echard referenced a point from the Matthew McConaughey book “Greenlights,” noting “It’s not personal, it’s business” of all the digs. “The Bachelor” added, “I’m happy with where I’m at today… I’m chasing my true purpose and passion in life,” and “I honestly didn’t really get a reaction other than I just kind of laughed.”
Echard may have been determined to laugh it off, but Evans reacted differently. “Clayton handled it better, overall, than I did. I was annoyed,” she admitted. She noted both she and Echard can laugh at themselves and the situation, but she worried, “Does this open the floodgates back up of all the hate and stuff?” Echard added, “Do I think that’s what should have been shown? I mean, no. I do think it was cyberbullying or an attack or it’s going to lead to cyberbullying.” He admitted he wasn’t “the biggest fan” of the digs incorporated, but he admitted, “it’s just the nature of the beast.” “The Bachelor” star noted he was determined to “Let it pass because… I’m not going to give people power that should have no power over me.”