Clayton Echard first came into the public eye as a contestant on Season 18 of The Bachelorette featuring Michelle Young. He was eliminated in week 8, after hometown dates. Shortly after, he was announced as the season 26 star of The Bachelor. His time as the lead has sparked intense backlash and hatred from viewers. Here is an in-depth look at the reasons why Clayton has become one of the most disliked Bachelors of all time.
His Behavior on The Bachelorette
Clayton’s introduction to Bachelor Nation viewers began with his stint as a contestant pursuing Michelle Young on her season of The Bachelorette. He made it fairly far in the process, being one of Michelle’s final four men. However, viewers were quick to notice some red flags in Clayton’s behavior even then:
He Seemed Inauthentic and Performative
Many felt that Clayton was simply saying and doing whatever he thought Michelle wanted to hear, rather than being genuine. For example, during a group date where the men had to watch Michelle’s students put on a play, Clayton gushed over how much he loved seeing Michelle in her element as a teacher. Viewers felt this reaction was over-the-top and disingenuous.
He Was Overly competitive with the Other Men
Clayton also ruffled feathers for his intense competitiveness with the other male contestants. He gloated when he got a rose or a date over the other men. This aggressive attitude reminded some of past “villains” on the show.
He Seemed More Infatuated with the Process than Michelle
Overall, Clayton seemed more enamored with the concept of being on The Bachelorette than establishing a real connection with Michelle herself. This lack of genuine interest in Michelle was a bad sign of what was to come in his own Bachelor season.
His Behavior as the Bachelor
Once Clayton was announced as the new Bachelor lead after Michelle’s season, many viewers were immediately skeptical. Unfortunately, Clayton’s time as the lead validated many people’s worst fears:
He Was Indecisive and Flip-Floppy
Right from the start, Clayton displayed an inability to make decisive choices about who he wanted to pursue. Each week he would appearcommitted and in love with one woman, only to have his “frontrunner” change in the next episode. His constant back-and-forth was frustrating to watch.
He Repeatedly Rewarded Drama
Clayton had a pattern of giving roses to controversial contestants who were involved in drama, like Cassidy or Shanae. Rather than seeing these women for who they were, Clayton rewarded their bad behavior week after week.
He Was Manipulated by the Women
Many felt that Clayton was naive and easily manipulated by some of the more calculating contestants. For instance, he repeatedly fell for fake tears and apologies from Shanae. Viewers criticized his inability to see through the women’s antics.
He Seemed Unable to Express Real Emotion
Again echoing complaints from his Bachelorette stint, Clayton’s reactions often came across as rigid and emotionless. Even in big moments like fantasy suite dates, he appeared to just go through the motions rather than having authentic reactions.
He Handled the Finale Very Poorly
Perhaps the biggest source of backlash against Clayton was the disastrous way he conducted himself in the season finale and After the Final Rose special. More on that next.
His Catastrophic Finale Appearance
The finale of Clayton’s Bachelor season was uncomfortable to watch at best, and morally reprehensible at worst. Here are just some of his worst offenses:
He Told All 3 Women He Loved Them
In what many called an idiotic move, Clayton confessed his love to all 3 of his final women – Susie, Gabby, and Rachel. This understandably infuriated them all once they found out at the last rose ceremony.
He Eliminated Susie After Her Ultimatum
When Susie expressed understandable upset over Clayton being in love with other women, he reacted badly by eliminating her on the spot rather than trying to work things out. Many felt this rash decision was cruel and humiliating.
He Slept with Both Gabby and Rachel After Susie Left
In a shocking twist, Clayton proceeded to spend the night with both his remaining women in the fantasy suites, just days after professing love to Susie. To most viewers this indicated he never truly loved any of them in the first place.
He Had No Remorse for His Actions
In the After the Final Rose special, Clayton was egotistical and defensive rather than apologizing. He tried justifying his choices, demonstrating a lack of accountability or care for the hurt he caused.
The finale cemented Clayton’s status as selfish, thoughtless, and reckless with others’ feelings. For many it was the last straw and reason to fully dislike him.
Additional Factors Contributing to Dislike
Beyond Clayton’s specific behaviors on the shows, there are a few other contributing factors that have fueled disdain for him:
- Perceived lack of sincerity: From the beginning many felt Clayton’s nice-guy image was an act and that he was disingenuous. His actions proved this to be true.
- Lack of respect for women: His treatment of Susie, Gabby, and Rachel in the end showed he didn’t respect them or their emotions. This struck a nerve.
- Dismissiveness about backlash: Clayton’s ego and lack of humility in interviews after the show aired made people angrier.
- Better options passed over: Many were upset that likeable men like Rodney or Brandon were passed over as Bachelor for someone like Clayton.
Do People Have Good Reason to Dislike Clayton?
After looking at all these factors that have contributed to Clayton’s unpopularity, it’s easy to see why he’s become so disliked. While every Bachelor faces some criticism, the magnitude and justification for hating Clayton seems higher than most.
He exhibited some legitimate red flags
Between his manipulative, competitive early behavior to his callousness in the finale, Clayton showcased some personality flaws that most would consider worrying in a partner. Viewers now have reason to question his empathy, decision-making, and trustworthiness.
He failed as a leading man
As the Bachelor, Clayton failed in his duties to conduct himself with respect, maturity, and regard for the women’s feelings. His poor choices ruined what could have been a redemption story.
He represents larger societal issues
For some Clayton epitomizes the archetype of ego-driven, shallow men in dating that they want to see less of. His popularity as Bachelor feels like a step backward.
While harshness toward any person online should be condemned, most feel the strong dislike of Clayton comes from a reasonable place. Perhaps the experience will lead to growth for him that can be applauded.
Clayton Echard’s journey from Bachelorette suitor to the most hated Bachelor in recent memory has been fascinating to watch. His inauthenticity and lack of emotional maturity were present even in his first appearances. But it was his conduct as the Bachelor lead – particularly the disastrous finale – that cemented Clayton as arrogant, untrustworthy, and dismissive of women’s feelings in viewers’ eyes.
Beyond just his individual behaviors, Clayton represents some larger trends that people are reacting against – like superficiality in dating and disrespect toward women. While anyone would be stung by such widespread criticism, the hope is Clayton takes it as an opportunity for self-reflection and growth. Perhaps learning from these mistakes can make him and the franchise better in the long run.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What season of The Bachelor was Clayton on?
Clayton Echard was the season 26 star of The Bachelor in 2022.
How did Clayton behave as the Bachelor?
As the Bachelor, Clayton was often indecisive between women, rewarded drama, seemed manipulated by the contestants, couldn’t express emotion well, and handled the finale very poorly.
What happened between Clayton and Susie in the finale?
In the finale, Susie gave Clayton an ultimatum about not wanting him to be in love with other women. Clayton reacted angrily by eliminating her, rather than trying to work it out.
Did Clayton sleep with multiple women in the fantasy suites?
Yes, Clayton infamously spent the night in the fantasy suites with both Gabby and Rachel, just days after telling Susie he loved her. This upset all three women.
What was Clayton’s response to the backlash after the finale aired?
Clayton did not take accountability for his actions and was defensive rather than apologetic. He tried to justify his poor decisions, showing a lack of remorse.