"There's an old saying here in Texas," says ex-Bachelorette
contender Wes Hayden
. "Believe nothing you hear and half of what you see ... On that show, I wouldn't believe anything."
After the July 6 episode, which showed the Austin singer apparently confessing to having a girlfriend
and other villainous acts after getting the boot
from Jillian Harris
, Wes is dealing with the fallout -- and contending that what saw was not the real Wes. And after PEOPLE spoke to accused girlfriend Laurel Kagay
, Wes and his ex, who he says "was 100 percent telling the truth," have been bombarded by angry calls and emails.
"We haven't been together since last July or August," he says. "She's going through hell right now. People are calling her a bitch and a whore and are telling to boycott her business, which she's worked hard to do for years and years. She's finally successful, and now she's getting phone calls at all hours of the night."
Last weekend in San Antonio, Wes says, "a girl walked up and said, 'You're such an ass.'" He replied, "Look, it's a TV show. That's it. I don't know what else to tell you."
But Wes sees such encounters as opportunities to tell his side of the story. Last Friday, he performed at the Lucky Mule in Abilene, Texas. "Before I went on stage, the deejay said, 'Look, I'm bringing Wes onstage, and I don't want anybody throwing beer bottles or cussing him out. This is Wes Hayden the artist, not Wes the TV guy.'" After the show, "People said, 'I came a hater and left a fan,'" Wes recalls.
But booking such shows is harder than ever. Those that have canceled have spelled out their reason clearly: "They've said, 'Basically, nobody's going to show up," he says. "Nobody wants to see this guy that everybody thinks is a bad guy."
One of the key moments on The Bachelorette
that turned Wes into a villain was the limo ride after his departure, when he appeared to say he was the only contender to make it to the final four with a girlfriend. "That was a question that was asked of me in the limo," he says, and he simply repeated it.
"'Yeah, right. Get real, man. If I'd had a girlfriend, I'd be home," he adds. "I wouldn't be dealing with this.'"
And about that apparently confrontational date with Jillian in Spain, Wes says that he and Jillian had a nice time, holding hands and kissing at dinner. "Then I got the fantasy card, and she said, 'Do you think I should do this?'" Wes recalls. "I told her yes. That's how in the dark I was. If things were going badly, I wouldn't have."
But once he was denied the fantasy suite, "I knew right then that my time was probably done."
Although Wes is concerned about the threats he and Laurel have received, he has no regrets about meeting Jillian. "She's a wonderful woman," he says. "I'd be very anxious to see if somebody's getting married out of this show; that would make me believe anything. But she's such a wonderful woman that she doesn't need a TV show to find a husband." -- Darla AtlasTell us: Do you believe Wes? Do you feel bad for him now that he's getting angry calls and finding it hard to book gigs?