‘Bachelorettes’ Gabby and Rachel deny bullying Clayton Echard

Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia insist there was no ill intent behind the digs at their mutual ex, Clayton Echard, during the “Bachelorette” season 19 premiere.

“Of course no one has ever used his name maliciously or meanly or bullied him,” 26-year-old Recchia said on the episode of Us Weekly’s podcast Here for the Right Reasons.

That said, Recchia admitted that she and Windey, 31, would have preferred their contestants make “a little less” snide remarks about Echard, 29, upon arriving at the “Bachelor” mansion on Monday’s episode.

“I’m sure he would have too, but it was just kind of fun trying to get in touch with us since the only time [the contestants] ever saw we were in his season,” she explained.

Windey added that she and Recchia “understand” if Echard and his girlfriend, Susie Evans, thought the comments were inappropriate — because even the co-leads hoped the men would stop raising their ex.

Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia laugh with two male contestants "The Bachelor."
Many contestants shaded Echard in an attempt to impress the “Bachelorette” co-leads.

“It was literally just a week before that” [‘The Bachelor’] was over and everyone saw the ending at ‘After the Final Rose’. So it’s still so fresh,’ Windey reasoned.

“So I think I’m looking back at it many months later… [people are like], ‘Why now?’ But you also have to remember when we were filming, it was really fresh.”

The ICU nurse then reiterated that the comments were not “defamatory” or “malicious.”

“I feel like they were just making fun of it,” she said of her and the flight instructor participants. “But we certainly understand where they come from.”

Susie Evans holding a rose while standing next to Clayton Echard "The Bachelor: After the Final Rose."
Echard broke up with Recchia and Windey to go after Susie Evans.
ABC via Getty Images

During the premiere, several contestants took a jab at Echard for telling the current “Bachelorettes” that he loved them and slept with them during the fantasy suites of “The Bachelor” season 26.

One contestant called the former “Bachelor” a “piece of st,” while another brought in a children’s choir to sing “Clayton Sucks.”

After the episode, Evans, 28, revealed that she didn’t like the jokes, mostly because she feared it would “open the floodgates of all the hate” her boyfriend received when his season aired earlier this year.

“Clayton has generally handled it better than me. I was annoyed,” said the videographer on Tuesday’s episode of the podcast “Off the Vine with Kaitlyn Bristowe”. “But Clayton definitely went with the flow. … He was able to laugh.”

Gabby Windey, Rachel Recchia, Clayton Echard and Lindsay Dobbs on "The Bachelor."
Echard managed to become the least favorite “Bachelor” after telling Recchia and Windey that he loved them and slept with them.
ABC via Getty Images

And yet the former footballer himself admitted that he was not enthusiastic about the episode.

“Do I think that’s what should have been shown? I mean no. I really think it was cyberbullying or an attack or it will lead to cyberbullying,” he said in the podcast. “And that’s why I’m not the biggest fan of how that was shown, but it was and… it’s just the nature of the beast.”

“The Bachelorette” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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