Fans of the US series of The Bachelorette are up in arms following news that the star of season 16 has quit the show just 12 days in.
Clare Crawley reportedly walks out in episode three after finding love with contestant Dale Moss, a former NFL player, and the couple is rumoured to have since become engaged.
After their first encounter on the red carpet, Clare gushed that she’d just ‘met her future husband’ and later gave Dale the coveted first impressions rose.
A teaser for the upcoming episode hints at the 39-year-old’s dramatic exit from what has already been a controversial season.
“I will never apologise for love!” an emotional Clare is heard declaring in the clip, prompting host Chris Harrison to remark, “Congratulations, you've just blown up The Bachelorette”.
Passionate viewers have taken to Twitter to air their outrage over what some are calling the ‘worst season ever’.
“Worst season ever! Been a fan from the start... I’m not surprised it ended this way, I feel bad for the men who thought they would have a chance to win her. I like Clare, just not as the Bachelorette,” one wrote.
“I always liked Clare but what is she doing? [...] C'mon Clare you never gave anyone else a chance! I don't like you anymore. Sorry...” another added.
Clare has yet to address the controversy directly, but did take to Instagram on Saturday to share a photo of clouds and a cryptic caption that read, “Sending everyone love.”
Her followers flooded the comments with messages of support for her bold move.
“WE LOVE YOU CLARE. Thank you for a great and unique season,” one wrote.
“Hang in there Clare. The trolls have gone too far. We support you,” said another.
One fan, however, was slightly more critical in their reaction.
“I hope you and Dale last - if not that would be the world’s biggest wasted opportunity,” they remarked.
Bachelorette producers have since scrambled to save the season by bringing in a replacement in the form of The Bachelor and Bachelor In Paradise star Tayshia Adams.
Tayshia will reportedly step right in where Clare left off and continue to date the existing pool of men.
Bachelor quits over ‘strip’ game
It’s not the first time Clare has copped backlash for her choices on The Bachelorette. One contestant walked out of the show following a controversial game of ‘strip’ dodgeball that he deemed “humiliating and degrading”.
Clare was confronted by one of her suitors, Yosef Aborady, who was upset over the group date in which the members of the losing team were pressured by Clare to strip naked.
While Yosef was not one of the contestants involved in the date, he wanted to speak to Clare on the matter and confronted her at a cocktail party.
“I was absolutely appalled at the group date that occurred yesterday,” he said.
“There were naked guys playing dodgeball together. It's so humiliating and degrading, and I don't see how that really translates into finding a husband.”
Yosef went on to say that he was “ashamed” to be associated with Clare and couldn’t believe how much he’d sacrificed “just to watch this distasteful and classless display.”
He then pointed out that Clare was about to turn 40 and also said she was a bad example for his daughter.
Backlash over strip dodgeball
At that point, Clare snapped and told Yosef to “get outta here!” after saying that she’d never want to have children with a man like him.
While Clare has not directly spoken out about the dodgeball game that resulted in four completely naked men being asked to hug her, she did respond to one tweet criticising her.
“It’s awful you had the guys take off their clothes if The bachelor asked the women do the same things all heck would break loose. You were wrong. Juan Pablo should have had you strip,” the viewer wrote.
In reply, Clare posted a picture from a pet adoption promotion that was done during Juan Pablo Galavis’ season of The Bachelor in 2013 which she appeared on as a contestant.
“You mean like this?” she wrote.
Many viewers took to Twitter to share their opinion on the heated exchange between Clare and Yosef, with several siding with the bachelor.
“I hate Yosef but he has a valid point and Clare wasn’t putting up with it. If the Bachelor did strip dodgeball he’d never hear the end of it. For her to think that was okay is absolutely unacceptable. Shame on you @Clare_Crawley,” one wrote.
“I’m just saying that if Clare and Yosef’s big fight is about his discomfort with the strip dodge ball... I might be on his side,” added another.
Others thought that Yosef had gone too far with his comments, and that a strip-style game wouldn’t be out of place on The Bachelor.
“I agree with him but he was overboard,” one wrote.
“Nah... I can hardly wait to see this stunt on The Bachelor! Blind double standard hypocrisy is just so much fun!” another added.
Additional reporting by George Back.
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