The Bachelor
Let's talk about it: Did Clayton Echard actually gaslight Susie Evans?

Did Clayton Gaslight Susie? He Responded To The Accusations

This debate feels a little too familiar.

ABC/Pamela Littky

Gaslight is a bit of a buzzword right now, especially for Bachelor Nation. (Remember the controversy surrounding Katie Thurston and Greg Grippo’s fight in August 2021? Point made.) So let’s do a quick vocab lesson. “The systematic manipulation of gaslighting makes you doubt yourself, your intuition, and your reality. This is the perfect foundation for anyone who wants control over your thoughts, and actions,” relationship expert and love coach Susan Winter previously explained to Elite Daily. Intention and consistency matters here. So, um, did Clayton Echard gaslight Susie Evans? He responded to the criticism.

ICYMI, during the Fantasy Suites episode, which aired on March 8, Echard and Evans got into a disagreement over his decision to sleep with two other women and express ~feelings of love~ for both of them. Evans explained that it would be “impossible” for her to get past that while Echard argued that she had encouraged him to explore his other connections. At first, their discourse looked healthy if tense. But things took a turn for the worse when Echard seemed to turn the situation on Evans. “In my eyes, you just invalidated everything we had,” he told her. “I don’t even know who I’m looking at anymore.” And soon, the gaslighting accusations (see: tweets) started rolling in. Contestants from Echard’s season, like Sierra Jackson and Elizabeth Corrigan, called him out for gaslighting on social media.

On March 9, Echard appeared on The Almost Famous podcast to respond to the backlash following his fight with Evans. “It's tough because I've seen what everyone's saying and they're using some pretty descriptive terms, some pretty heavy-hitting terms that I couldn't disagree with more. But I understand that it appears that way,” he told hosts Ashley Iaconetti and Ben Higgins.

According to him, he never intended to gaslight Evans though he knew that he did not handle their disagreement well. “I don't agree that I was gaslighting because I looked that up, and it said gaslighting, the definition is to try and convince someone of a different reality than what is actually the true reality of the situation,” he explained. “Gaslighting in my eyes is something where it's you have bad intentions, you're trying to manipulate somebody, and I was not at all trying to do that. My reality was in my head at that point.”

ABC/John Medland

In hindsight, the Bachelor said he didn’t handle the situation well — at all. (Agreed.) “I jumped to a lot of conclusions that aren't realistic, that weren't the truth. And so I've known this before, but I know now going forward, if I ever get overwhelmed like that ever again, [I should] take a deep breath and step aside,” he explained. “And I wish I would have just taken a breather and walked outside and said, ‘Give me 20 minutes,’ but I didn't.”

Apparently, at the time, Echard thought that Evans was “just saying whatever she needs to say to leave me so that she can be the next Bachelorette.” (Evans has not yet publicly commented on the situation or her intentions.) That perception of Evans didn’t last long, but that partially explains why he was so angry during their fight. “I don't believe that now. I didn't believe it the next day, but I believed it in that moment and because of that I allowed my emotions to take over.”

During March 10 episode of Off The Vine podcast, Echard told Kaitlyn Bristowe that he was “embarrassed” by the way he acted. “I was shocked that I couldn’t see her side.”

Here’s hoping all of us — including Echard and Evans — get some clarity on the sitch soon.


Susan Winter, relationship expert and love coach