TV & Movies

Bachelor Nation Rallies Behind Susie & Accuses Clayton Of “Gaslighting”

“DON’T blame her CLAYTON,” tweeted franchise alum Jason Tartick.

ABC/Craig Sjodin

Fantasy Suite week has come and gone and Bachelor Nation would like to have a word with Clayton Echard. The Season 26 lead professed his love to all three remaining women during the March 8 episode and later confessed to Susie Evans that he was intimate with both Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia. This did not go over well with the 28-year-old video producer, who suddenly revealed that physical intimacy with the other women would be an absolute dealbreaker.

“I can see myself getting engaged to this man, I can see myself having a family with him,” Susie said in a confessional that aired during Rachel’s overnight date. “But I‘m hoping that he takes, like, physical intimacy as seriously as I do… If I find out that he’s falling in love with other women or that he has become physically intimate with another woman, that would be devastating.”

Susie voiced her concerns again during Gabby’s date. “I’m just spiraling emotionally, thinking through the worst-case scenario,” she said as she fittingly glided down a spiral staircase. “Whether it’s Clayton falling in love, or him being physically intimate with Gabby… I just hope that, like, Clayton’s on the same page.” Needless to say, the former football player was not on the same page.

When it came time for Clayton and Susie’s date, the Virginia native got all of the answers she needed. After the former football player revealed that he was in love with her, she asked if he professed his love or slept with any of the other women. “To answer your question, yes, I have slept with someone else here,” he said. “And yes, I’ve expressed feelings towards someone else of falling in love.”

In an attempt to save their relationship, Clayton told Susie that he was in love with her “the most” and that it was never his intention to fall in love with multiple women. “It makes me more sad for all of it,” she responded before revealing that she didn’t know how strongly Clayton felt about her. “I don’t think I can get past those things. I just don’t think I can.”

Although many fans agreed that Susie could have vocalized her expectations earlier, Clayton’s reaction to her boundaries had the internet in a collective uproar. “If you felt this strongly about this, why wouldn’t you have told me early on?” he asked. “You don’t tell me until now, and it’s after the fact?” Unfortunately, this was only the beginning of their explosive conversation.

“I don’t even know who I’m looking at anymore,” Clayton said after accusing Susie of invalidating their relationship. “You just dropped a bombshell on me, and I don’t agree with it at all how you went about it. I think it’s BS… I’m sorry that I even raised my voice. It’s because I cared so much, I really did love you… Anything you say to me at this point doesn’t matter to me anymore, so I’m going to walk you out.”

Viewers were appalled by Clayton’s behavior and several people on Twitter accused him of gaslighting. But it wasn’t just fans of the show who had an issue with how he spoke to Susie. Many cast members from previous seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette weighed in as well, including Nick Viall, Ben Higgins, Demi Burnett, Tanner Tolbert, and more.

“Susie tried to express her feelings while trying to empathize with Clayton’s POV,” Viall tweeted as the episode aired. “Clayton expressed his feelings to Susie by being a d*ck.” Tolbert agreed. “Clayton went from being the nice (although boring) guy all season long to a raging a**hole right before our eyes,” he wrote. Jason Tartick encouraged Clayton not to play the blame game.

Although Clayton is facing backlash right now, his journey to find love isn’t over yet — and apparently, neither is Susie’s. According to a March 8 spoiler post from Reality Steve, not only does Susie return to the show, but she’s actually the only person left during the final rose ceremony after Clayton has a falling out with Gabby, and Rachel. Will Susie give Clayton another chance? Only time will tell.