Gabby and Rachel respond to Clayton and Susie’s reaction to the premiere of The Bachelorette Party, accusations of bullying

While “Bachelor Nation” and Suzy Evans continue to ponder the shade of Clayton Echard during the premiere of the 19th season of “The Bachelorette,” Gabby Windy and Rachel Recchia share their views on this story.
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“Of course, no one has ever used his name maliciously, rude or intimidated him,” Rachel, 26, said exclusively on the Us Weekly podcast “Here for the Right Reasons” after the premiere on Monday, July 11. “Perhaps we would like to hear it a little less. I’m sure he would too, but it was just fun to try to contact us as the only time [the members] ever saw us was his season.”
Gabby, 31, added that the two main characters “understand” if Clayton and Susie didn’t like all the attacks on the former football player, including the children’s choir singing “Clayton sucks” on Monday’s episode.
Gabby Windy, Rachel Recchia, Susie Evans and Clayton Echard. Tammy Arroyo/Shutterstock; ABC/Craig Chaudin
“I hope that’s not really the case. I mean, at that moment, you know, Rachel and I thought, “Dude, I’d like to talk about something else.” But literally a week before [The Bachelor] ended, everyone saw the ending in the AFR. So, she is still so fresh,” the nurse explained. “So I think watching this many months later is why it also has some kind of greater feeling, [for example]: “Why now?” But you also have to remember when we were shooting, it was really fresh. I don’t think anyone meant anything evil. I don’t think it was a real slander. I feel like they were just trying to make fun of it. But we understand exactly where they come from.”
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The former NFL cheerleader and flight instructor were named co-bachelorettes after Clayton was criticized for falling in love with all three of his finalists and sleeping with Gabby and Rachel. After Susie found out about the late-night dates, she left the show. Clayton then sent Gabby and Rachel packing (after briefly convincing them to stay), and the wedding photographer and the Missouri native got back together after the series ended.
“These are two completely different situations,” Rachel said when asked if she and Gabby felt sympathy for Clayton after going through their own journeys. “Of course, even going into the night, realizing that you can have different connections with different guys, and they are all so different and bring different things to the table. We can definitely see, you know, how people form multiple connections. But I really think it’s a little different around. It’s two different journeys and two different ways people handle things.”
Clayton, for his part, told Caitlin Bristow on Tuesday, July 12, that he “laughed” at the premiere, but said the jokes would probably “lead to cyberbullying” and new “attacks” on his way. Susie admitted that she was “annoyed” by the situation.
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“Overall, Clayton handled it better than I did,” the Virginia native said on the “Off the Vine” podcast. — Like, come on. Clayton gave, you know, he can laugh at himself, and I can laugh at Clayton. …And I can laugh at myself. But also, I’m afraid, “Will this open the floodgates for all the hate and stuff?” That’s when I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, really?’ but Clayton was definitely coming with the flow.”
When asked if Gabby and Rachel had spoken to Clayton or Susie in recent weeks, the Colorado native said no.
“We really had a closure at AFR, and it was very nice — that’s what it exists for,” Gabby told us. “We were able to sort of say our piece, get this closure to move on. I feel like we are all going in different directions and we are happy for them and want them to succeed, as we hope they are for us in this new opportunity that has been given to us.”
The Bachelorette Party airs on ABC on Mondays at 8:00 p.m. ET.