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The Bachelor's Clayton Echard Had To Read Mean Tweets On Live TV, And Fans Had Thoughts

Clayton Echard is shown in a preview for The Bachelor.
(Image credit: ABC)

The way ABC has handled the announcement of the upcoming season's Bachelor is unconventional, to say the least. Clayton Echard’s name was leaked as the Season 26 lead before he’d even been introduced on Michelle Young’s season of The Bachelorette. The radio silence from ABC — despite Echard being seen filming for the show — really left the former football player open to any and all criticism from Bachelor Nation. And boy can they be ruthless.

As soon as Clayton Echard stepped foot out of the limo to meet Michelle Young, the Missouri resident was under a microscope of hard-to-please viewers, who were searching for justification for ABC’s casting of Echard. His time on The Bachelorette was unremarkable; Echard didn’t get the most screen time and generally stayed out of the drama, which left fans wholly nonplussed. 

On The Bachelorette’s season finale, Clayton Echard was given the chance to address the social media hate by reading mean tweets, and Twitter users definitely had a field day with that. Echard was a good sport as he read the tweets, but some noticed that it really seemed like he was smiling through the pain. 

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The tweets were definitely mean, and Clayton Echard’s discomfort made for a pretty awkward segment for the upcoming Bachelor and “After the Final Rose" host Kaitlyn Bristowe, who was flying solo for the live finale. Usual co-host Tayshia Adams reportedly came in contact with someone who had COVID and was absent from the finale. Despite Bristowe and Echard’s best efforts, the segment still left viewers feeling a little uneasy.

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Some members of Bachelor Nation may have missed the point of the segment — meant to shame social media users for their needless hate — by laughing at some of the mean tweets. I have to admit though, this one was kind of funny.

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You can’t make everyone happy. Some viewers are simply not going to like Clayton Echard, and that’s okay. There are legitimate criticisms to ABC’s decision and the show’s handling of the situation. So some Twitter users just said that it is what it is!

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The audience began to boo the heartless comments, as Kaitlyn Bristowe brought up tweet after tweet. I mean, it started to really feel like they were piling it on Clayton Echard. Even though the live audience members were coming to his defense (and he got a hug from the Santa security guy, for what that’s worth), this Twitter user wasn’t convinced that the audience members were all that innocent.

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Hopefully Clayton Echard has a better experience on his journey to find love than he did trying to win over The Bachelorette fans on social media, but I’m skeptical even about that, given what we’ve seen from the previews. Take a look at the dumpster fire to come:

We won’t have to wait long to see it all play out. The Bachelor Season 26 premieres Monday, January 3, on ABC. In the meantime, head over to our 2022 TV Schedule to see what else is coming up in the new year.

Heidi Venable

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.