TV & Movies
Clayton Has Some Regrets About Choosing Bachelor Villain Shanae Over Elizabeth
“I wish I could have seen what was happening when I wasn’t there.”
Hindsight really is 20/20 — just ask Clayton Echard. After the Season 26 lead watched the Jan. 31 episode of The Bachelor, he apologized to the recently eliminated Elizabeth Corrigan for not heeding her warnings about this season’s most toxic villain, Shanae Ankey. Elizabeth and Shanae’s feud spanned several weeks. It began with Shanae weaponizing Elizabeth’s ADHD diagnosis against her and rapidly devolved into what has now been dubbed #shrimpgate.
To quickly recap, Shanae told Clayton earlier this season that Elizabeth was the “one red flag” in the house, which prompted him to pull the 32-year-old real estate agent aside. When Elizabeth asked Shanae why she would say that, the 29-year-old Ohio native said it was because “you act one way to me, like a friend, and then completely ignore me the next conversation.” Elizabeth explained that she has ADHD and was trying to focus on whoever she was speaking to at the time.
While it appeared for a brief moment that the two had squashed their beef, Shanae began mocking Elizabeth’s diagnosis and implied that she was making it up to avoid taking accountability. Her ableist behavior angered viewers, who accused her of “minimizing ADHD” and trivializing mental health. Several fans also called on the show’s producers to apologize for airing the scene in the first place and further stigmatizing ADHD.
Clayton, for his part, didn’t know that this happened while the show was airing. But now that he’s seen it with his own eyes, he issued a public apology to Elizabeth for writing off her concerns. “I’m sorry, Elizabeth, for what you’re going through,” he wrote in a social media post published on Feb. 1. “I wish I could have seen what was happening when I wasn’t there.” Clayton said that, at the time, he believed that it was just “petty drama,” but has now realized it was much more.
“I would have sent Shanae home immediately for making fun of you for being neurodivergent, had I known,” he continued. “Overall, the experience for me watching hasn’t been fun, simply because I’m seeing all the damage that I caused. I really meant well, but my actions weren’t always the best as I now can see the repercussions of my decisions. I can promise you I’m learning from the mistakes though and am doing everything in my power to come out the other side a better man.”
One of his mistakes was forcing Elizabeth and Shanae to chat ahead of the Jan. 31 rose ceremony. During their conversation, Shanae accused Elizabeth of bullying and Elizabeth accused Shanae of telling her to “f*ck off.” When the rose ceremony came around, Clayton shocked fans when he chose to eliminate Elizabeth and keep Shanae. But Shanae’s intentions became clear toward the end of the episode when she crashed an after-party she wasn’t invited to. Once again, she told Clayton that the women were plotting against her and the two wound up kissing on the bar. As she walked away from their makeout session, she told the cameras that she thought their conversation went well and that he believed her story.
Unfortunately, it took until now for Clayton to realize that he was being hoodwinked. After the episode aired, the Twitter account @bachplease called out Shanae’s manipulative behavior. “‘OH MY GOD, he BELIEVED me! I’ve got him! I was GOOD’ Is Shanae ADMITTING to all of #bachelornation that she’s LYING and playing Clayton?” they wrote. Clayton didn’t offer up much, but he did make his feelings known with one three-letter word and a very telling emoji:
“Oof” is right. And with Shanae’s journey continuing next week, there’s definitely more drama to come. According to the preview, she will be going on a two-on-one with Genevieve, which means her chances of being eliminated after weeks and weeks of relentless drama will increase exponentially.