Clayton Echard Reacts to Shade From Bachelorette Premiere, Fears It'll 'Lead To Cyberbullying'

The premiere of Season 19 of “The Bachelorette,” which sees two ladies — Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia — looking for love, featured several contestants bashing Season 26’s Bachelor, Clayton Echard.

After being mocked on the show, Clayton is now weighing in.

While appearing on Monday’s episode of Kaitlyn Bristowe’s “Off the Vine” podcast alongside his girlfriend and Season 26 winner, Susie Evans, the former NFL player shared his thoughts on the “attacks.”

“As I saw the episode, I was very happy to just feel that I’m like, you know, ‘It’s not personal, it’s business,'” said Clayton, 39. “And I’m happy with where I’m at today. I’m pushing the things I want to push [on]. I’m chasing my true purpose and passion in life, finally, for the first time, and I think through all the muck, and everything that I went through, here I am because of this entire environment.”

He added, “So as I saw the show, the episode and all of the attacks and the song, the choir — I’m gonna go chase down those parents — I honestly didn’t really get a reaction other than I just kind of laughed.”

During Monday night’s premiere, Gabby and Rachel certainly got their jabs in when it came to Clayton, however, the suitors went all in — and trashing Clayton was a recurring theme throughout the introductions from the contestants right out of the limo.

Among the Clayton jabs included suitor Alec bringing in a children’s choir to perform an original song titled, “Clayton Sucks,” and Johnny referring to Clayton as “a piece of s—.”

On Monday’s “Off the Vine” podcast, Susie, 28, noted that Clayton “handled it better, overall, than I did” when it came to watching the episode, admitting that she “was annoyed.”

“Like, come on. Clayton has given, you know, he can laugh at himself and I can laugh at Clayton,” she told Kaitlyn. “And I can laugh at myself. But also, my fear is, like, ‘Does this open the floodgates back up of all the hate and stuff?’ So that’s where I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh, really?’ But Clayton, definitely was, like, going with the flow. … He was able to laugh.”

Clayton said that while he was “able to find light in it,” he admitted that his being trashed shouldn’t have been featured in the episode, and expressed that it’ll possibly lead to repercussions as for how he’s treated online.

“Do I think that it’s, 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,” Clayton explained. “And so for that, I’m not the biggest fan of how that was shown, but it was and like you said, it’s just the nature of the beast.”

“I’m not gonna lose sleep over this point anymore,” he shared. “If I start giving more power to people that have no interest in my passions and they’re gonna try to just pull me off this path that I’m now on and I’m full steam ahead on, to me it’s as simple as just ignore it. Let it pass because … I’m not going to give people power that should have no power over me.”

Meanwhile, in a recent interview with The Virginian-Pilot, Clayton reflected on his season, admitting he was “embarrassed and disgusted” by his “actions” as well as his portrayal on the ABC dating reality series.

As viewers can recall, during Fantasy Week, Clayton revealed to Susie that he had been intimate with both Gabby and Rachel, and as a result, Susie departed the show. In the following episode, Clayton admitted to Gabby and Rachel that he was in love with both of them — and was subsequently hit with backlash.

“It was a train wreck, honestly, of a season,” Clayton told The Virginian-Pilot.

“Watching it back, I was embarrassed and disgusted by my actions and the way I was portrayed or seen on TV,” he continued, referencing how he treated Susie, Gabby and Rachel specifically. “Ultimately, I had to live with the fact that my narrative is what was shown. And that was hard because that’s not really who I am. I don’t feel that what I was on the show is who I truthfully am but I did those things, I became that person.”

He went on to open up about the online hate he’s received, calling it “overwhelming.”

“The hatred by way of numbers was really hard for me to overcome,” Clayton shared. “Had it just been a few messages I would’ve passed it off. Had it been hundreds of messages, I might have questioned it. … But for me, it was thousands of messages, and in a very short period of time, so it became very overwhelming.”

And as fans also know, Susie ultimately gave Clayton another chance after she had rejected him during the Final Rose ceremony as it was revealed during the “After the Finale Rose” reunion that the two had gotten back together.

While speaking with The Virginian-Pilot, Clayton named Susie has the sole reason why he doesn’t regret being “The Bachelor,” however, he admitted that he “would never, ever do it again.”

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