Gabby Windey The Bachelorette Rachel Recchia

Gabby Windey And Rachel Recchia Insist No One Was Bullying Clayton Echard On The Bachelorette

The two stars of Season 19 of The Bachelorette, Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia, are insisting there was no harm meant behind the shade thrown at their mutual ex, Clayton Echard, during the season premiere.

“Of course, no one was ever using his name maliciously or to be mean or bully him,” Rachel said on Wednesday’s episode of Us Weekly’s “Here for the Right Reasons” podcast.

Rachel did admit, however, that she and Gabby would have preferred that the critical comments aimed at Clayton had been “a little less” frequent as their suitors were being introduced to them on the show’s premier.

“I’m sure [Clayton] would’ve as well, but it was just all kind of in good fun in a way to try to connect with us since the only time [the contestants] ever saw us was on his season,” Rachel explained in a Page Six interview.

Gabby went on to say that she and Rachel can “understand” Clayton and his girlfriend, Susie Evans, being annoyed by the repeated jabs at Clayton, because even they were getting tired of the constant mentions of their ex.

“It was literally just a week prior [to the filming of the premier episode] that [The Bachelor finale had aired] . . . and everybody saw the ending at ‘After the Final Rose.’ So it [was] still so fresh,” Gabby explained.

“So I think watching it back this many months later . . . [people are like], ‘Why now?’ But you also have to remember when we were filming, it was really fresh.”

Gabby insisted that the comments made by the contestants were  not “slander” or “malicious.” “I feel they were just trying to poke fun at it,” she said of her and Rachel’s contestants. “But we understand, definitely, where they’re coming from.”

I have to disagree with Gabby here. I think the viewing audience still remembers that train wreck of a finale in vivid detail, so there’s still a lot of Clayton resentment out there. He made a total mess of his Bachelor  opportunity, so while I don’t totally hate the guy, I’m not a fan either. And I’m not alone.

During the premiere, multiple contestants took jabs at Clayton for his behavior on his season of The Bachelor: telling each of the three remaining women that he loved them (leading each of them to believe she would be his choice), sleeping with two of  the remaining women in the “Fantasy Suites” before Susie told him any “intimacy” with the other women would be a deal breaker for her, berating and gaslighting Susie for not telling him that sex with the other women would be the end for them, admitting to Gabby and Rachel that he had told all three that he loved them and that Susie had left, begging the final two to stay, and finally, breaking up with both of them because he was still in love with Susie. Whew! No wonder Clayton’s dad said he’d “screwed the pooch.”

One contestant slammed the former Bachelor as a “piece of s–t,” while another brought a children’s choir to sing “Clayton Sucks.” A new low for this show, and that’s a pretty high (low?) bar.

After the airing of the episode, Susie revealed she was not happy about the negative comments about her boyfriend, worrying that it would reopen “the floodgates . . . of all the hate” that Clayton received when his season ended earlier this year.

“Clayton handled it better overall than I did. I was annoyed,” Susie said. “But Clayton definitely was going with the flow . . . He was able to laugh.”

Even though he saw the humor, the former football player admitted he wasn’t thrilled with the episode.

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


[Photo Credit: ABC/Gizelle Hernandez]