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After The Bachelor's Public Apology, Clayton Echard Appeared To Blame Producers For Keeping Villain Shanae Ankney Around

Clayton Echard continues to find himself on the defensive, as The Bachelor Season 26 has been dominated by Shanae Ankney’s villainous antics, as well as Echard’s failure to eliminate her. Watching the season play out, Echard can see, with the rest of America, the extent of Ankney’s lies and manipulations, which prompted him to publicly apologize to a contestant he eliminated in lieu of Ankney. Now, however, the bachelor appears to have sneakily blamed the producers for making him keep the villain on the show.

Shanae Ankney has been the focus of The Bachelor for the past few weeks for exhibiting a level of villainy that’s extreme, even for this show. It’s so bad that Bachelor Nation doesn’t even believe Ankney is real. Some fans have insisted she’s a plant hired by producers to create drama, and Echard may have just subtly confirmed that. In the comments section of a recent Instagram post, a fan suggested Clayton Echard give fans a clue if production was, in fact, behind his seemingly senseless decisions to keep giving Ankney roses: 

Wear blue in your next photo if you were forced to keep Shanae against your will.

That’s actually a pretty funny request, and pretty clever too, because the next day Clayton Echard posted another photo of himself to his Instagram … wearing blue shorts. The same fan took notice and called the bachelor out.  

Clayton Echard responds to a fan on Instagram.

(Image credit: Instagram)

Clayton Echard’s response was pretty crafty, because it certainly looks like a well-hidden confirmation that he’d seen the fan’s comment the previous day and wore the blue shorts for that reason. However, it’s not like blue is a unique color for anyone’s wardrobe, so he’s got enough plausible deniability that it was a mere coincidence. 

As much as it amuses me to think Clayton Echard might be sending S.O.S. messages to fans via Instagram, if he is indeed confirming that production played a part in Shanae Ankney’s time on the show — whether hiring her to be the villain or asking Echard to not eliminate her — would that nullify the apology he made to Elizabeth Corrigan?

Clayton Echard eliminated Elizabeth Corrigan after Shanae Ankney accused Corrigan of bullying her. In actuality, Ankney had repeatedly mocked Corrigan for revealing she had ADHD and auditory processing issues. Echard said in his statement that if he’d have known about that, he would have sent Ankney home. Would that stand true if the producers were the ones calling the shots? 

Whether Clayton Echard’s social media posts were a hidden message about production or just a coincidence, the drama with Shanae Ankney will continue on Monday, February 14, as Ankney was invited to a 2-on-1 date with Genevieve Parisi, all but ensuring one of them is about to be eliminated. The Bachelor airs at 8 p.m. ET, Mondays on ABC. Check out our 2022 TV Schedule to see what other shows are premiering soon. 

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.