The Bachelor franchise has brought us some truly unforgettable villains over the years.
Names like Luke Parker and “Queen” Victoria Larson are as notorious among the denizens of Bachelor Nation as Darth Vader or Lord Voldemort are to the rest of the world.
So when we say there’s new frontrunner for the title of Worst Villain in Bachelor History, please know that we’re well aware of what a bold claim that is.
Of course, if you’ve been watching Clayton Echard’s season, then you probably agree that Shanae Ankney is doing her damnedest to earn that dubious distinction.
Is it intentional?
Is she there for the wrong reasons and laboring under the delusion that distinguishing herself with abhorrent behavior is a sure path to millions of followers and lucrative endorsement deals?
Maybe — but whatever the case, Shanae has viewers cringing their way through Clayton’s otherwise uneventful group dates and cocktail parties.
Early on, Ankney developed a strange obsession with fellow contestant Elizabeth Corrigan.
For whatever reason, Elizabeth occupies a tremendous amount of space in Shanae’s head and is capable of driving Ankney to the brink of insanity simply by whipping up a batch of garlic butter shrimp for her housemates.
Most of Shanae’s behavior fits the classic bully profile — this is a woman whose social IQ is on roughly the same level as that of an angry fourth grader.
Thankfully, it’s not the sort of behavior one often witnesses in real life — but we see a lot of this sort of thing on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette.
That’s no accident, of course.
Conflict often leads to compelling television, and producers know that casting an unemotionally unstable wild card like Shanae is the surest way to ensure that there will be plenty of hostility.
But they’ve outdone themselves this time, and that might be to the show’s detriment.
For many, Shanae crossed the line between villain and monster when she began to mock Elizabeth for having ADHD.
Sadly, this particular brand of bullying has now been featured in two consecutive episodes, and some viewers have had enough
A quick Twitter search for Shanae’s name reveals top tweets in which users have tagged ABC and the recruitment firm that employs Ankney, urging them to take action against her unacceptable behavior.
“Shanae is a LIAR. Throwing Elizabeth under the damn bus. What a BULLY. Why is this appropriate @BachelorABC why?” one person asked.
“It’s one thing to have a drama queen, but Shanae Ankney is a LYING BULLY.”
“Shanae Ankney’s company, [Shanae’s employer] should take extreme measure regarding her public display of inappropriate behavior,” another user tweeted.
“She is a representation of her organization and Has complete disregard for those with ADHD. This is unacceptable. Take action.”
“It’s with the utmost disappointment to watch your employee, Shanae Ankney, belittle fellow women & harass people for mental health disabilities with no regard for her awful statements,” reads another complaint addressed to Shanae’s company.
“I hope your organization takes action. She is a direct reflection of your company.
Shanae’s employer hasn’t responded to the public outcry, but it seems that she’s receiving quite a bit of local support.
Shanae is from Sycamore, Ohio, and the NBC affiliate in nearby Cleveland has published an article suggesting that she’s “getting a villain edit” and that producers are responsible for the toxicity she’s demonstrated thus far.
That might be partially true — but we doubt that anyone involved with the show instructed Shanae to mock people who have been diagnosed with ADHD.
And if they did — well, she should have refused.
After all, as she’s repeatedly reminded us, she is a grown-ass woman.
Albeit, one with a lot of growing up to do.