Bachelorette contestants are always trying to find new ways to stand out, but Jay's straight jacket limo entrance on Clare Crawley's season was a big miss. The 29-year-old fitness director from Florida showed up with his arms bound in a straight jacket, with a joke about how he's "gone a little crazy" in quarantine waiting to meet Clare. But mental health is not a joke, especially during a crisis like this pandemic.
According to the Washington Post, the Census Bureau found during the coronavirus pandemic that a third of Americans showed signs of depression or clinical anxiety. And the National Institute of Mental Health has reported that one in five adults in America are living with a mental illness. In the past, Bachelor Nation contestants have even talked about the importance of mental health and going to therapy themselves. Plus, we're just days removed from World Mental Health Day, so this is a poorly timed "joke" at that.
Jay said he wanted to show his dedication to Clare and to stand out with his outfit, but this was the wrong way to go about it. He left the jacket on all night, even for the big group photo for the ABC press site. He leaned way too much into this, especially because his ABC bio makes it seem like he's a regular, nice guy. He said he wants to find a relationship where he can be himself and love his partner unconditionally. His perfect date involves wine and meaningful conversation. Chris Harrison even called him an "overall great guy" with a "good heart."
He could have led with his sweet side instead of leaning into a stigma and using ableist language like "crazy." Besides he couldn't even greet Clare with a hug or a handshake when he met her. Was his offensive "joke" worth missing the chance to make a regular connection with her?
Sometimes the limo entrances that the contestants (or production) comes up with can be totally hilarious, but this was a big miss on a lot of levels. Mental illness isn't a joke, and I figured someone should probably remind Jay of that.