A lot of Bachelor fans didn’t know what to think when Clayton Eckhard was cast in the show’s lead role.
After all, the guy didn’t make it very far in Michelle Young’s season, so not much was known about him.
Many citizens of Bachelor Nation decided to simply wait and see how Clayton comported himself before they made up their minds about the former pro football player.
And when he Echard chose Shanae Ankney over Elizabeth Corrigan on Monday night’s episode, lots of folks decided that they had all the information they needed.
Just a few weeks into his run, Clayton’s name is already being mentioned in connection with phrases like "worst Bachelor ever" and "I’m done with his season."
But is it really his fault that he was deceived by the snake-like Shanae?
In case you’re not caught up on this drama, Ankney is a bully who seems to have set her mind to the task of single-handedly derailing Clayton’s season.
Her turn-ons include Clayton, chaos, and garlic butter shrimp.
Her turn-offs include Elizabeth Corrigan, neurodivergent people in general … and garlic butter shrimp.
Yeah, she’s tough to figure out.
Until this week, Shanae was directing most of her malice toward Elizabeth, but Clayton stunned the world by sending Corrigan home and giving Ankney a rose instead.
To say that the decision was unpopular would be putting it very mildly.
Viewers were baffled by Clayton’s decision, and many took to social media to express their frustration.
"I sure as heck hope Clayton is embarrassed knowing he sent home the wrong girl. Elizabeth is kind and I applaud her for taking the high road. Shanae is playing him like a fiddle and I’m disgusted how this show keeps the villains," one person tweeted.
"How is shanae SO good at gaslighting & HOW is clayton’s doofus ass not seeing through it," another added.
"It’s the fact that if Clayton ASKED everyone else about the Shanae situation he’d find the truth so much faster," a third chimed in.
Apparently, the situation was even worse on Instagram, as Clayton’s DMs blew up with viewers who were NOT happy about the way he handled the Shanae-Elizabeth drama.
But Corrigan was having none of the negativity during her stint on the show, and it seems she’s kept that same energy in the time since she got sent packing.
“It’s come to my attention that some of you are sending @claytonechard hate messages,” the 32-year-old wrote on her Instagram Story on Tuesday.
“I realize you want to support me and I appreciate that. But please — we are here to rise above not stoop to. Redirect that anger as love and support for the other girls.”
“Everyone, EVERYONE’S mental health matters. Yes, even Shanae’s.”
Talk about taking the high road!
You hope that Shanae would read kind words like that and feel like crap for the way she treated Elizabeth, but we doubt that Shanae feels like crap for anything that she’s done, ever.
Echard undeniably made the wrong decision, but to his credit, he has accepted full responsibility for the situation and it seems he’s trying to make things right with Elizabeth.
"I’m sorry, Elizabeth, for what you’re going through," he recently wrote on Twitter.
"I wish I could have seen what was happening when I wasn’t there.
"I obviously knew y’all weren’t in a good place with each other, but I thought at the time that it was, solely, petty drama," Echard added.
"I would have sent Shanae home immediately for making fun of you for being neurodivergent, had I known."
Obviously, it’s too late to take back Shanae’s rose and give it to Elizabeth, but there might be a silver lining in all of this:
Yes, Elizabeth is already being discusses as a frontrunner for the next Bachelorette!
She’d make a great choice, and we’re sure there would be zero bullying on Ms. Corrigan’s season!