Bentley Williams quits Bachelorette: “I’m going to make Ashley cry. I hope my hair looks okay.”

Bentley Williams exited The Bachelorette last night, and thanks to brilliant editing, came off as the biggest jerk asshole the show has ever had. Just under half the episode was spent on his exit, which may have actually been the most dramatic in The Bachelorette‘s history–although since he’ll be returning later this season, it doesn’t really count as an exit.

The episode began with Ashley walking through a rock garden and telling us in an interview voiceover, “I completely fell in love with Bentley last night. There’s something about him that’s so sincere.” Anyone who’s ever watched a reality show knows what’s coming next: a complete lack of sincerity from Bentley, who Ashley knew before filming ever began was coming on the show for publicity, not love.

Bentley never quite confirmed that, but told us in his interview, “I came in thinking that Ashley was not attractive at all. I knew for a fact that I wasn’t going to fall in love with her.” After saying goodbye to the other guys, who seemed as shocked as Ashley, Bentley said, “None of them have any idea that I don’t care about Ashley. I had the opportunity and I played everyone. It’s something that’s never been done before.” He also said, “I’m going to make Ashley cry. I hope my hair looks okay.”

Then he showed up at her house for one of those moments that’s carefully orchestrated by producers for maximum drama: She’s caught off-guard, she has her bed to go sob in after he leaves. While Bentley told her he was leaving because he didn’t want to be away from his kid, he told us things like “I came into The Bachelorette hoping it that was Emily” but that Ashley was “definitely the type of girl I would totally hook up with now and again.”

Some of his sentences were suspiciously edited, since the audio changed slightly and they seemed broken up, but cutaways to Bentley’s post-exit interview highlighted what an asshole he is because he said plenty of awful things while the camera showed his face actually saying them. “It’s annoying to just hold a girl that’s just crying, and crying, and crying,” he said. “I talked to her like I would talk to a girl I’m really interested in. The only difference is I’m not fucking interested in her.”

Ashley was devastated. “My heart is like totally broken. Was I wrong about everything?” she cried. Her People column says “I don’t remember ever feeling this depth of hurt and embarrassment” but adds, “Unfortunately, it’s not the last you will see of Bentley.”

Chris Harrison insists that he and the show’s producers were trying to protect Ashley, despite the obvious hard-on they got from the events. He wrote, “She made the decision to allow him on the show that first night. After Ashley received the texts warning her about Bentley, we offered her the option of not even having to meet the guy, but she decided to give him a shot. Every step of the way — despite warnings from producers, myself and others — Ashley stuck to her guns and believed in this guy. In Ashley’s defense she wasn’t privy to all the things Bentley said behind her back.”

And why would she be? That’d ruin their show and save her heartache.

Review: Married at First Sight

Marriage At First Sight

In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.