What Southern Charm's Shep Rose Learned from Fallout over Video Mocking Woman Collecting Cans

“It was stupid. It was wrong. It was hurtful.”

Shep Rose is talking about a notorious video he posted on Twitter in August in which he derided a woman who was collecting cans in New York City.

“I so regret that. I hate being the architect of my own demise. You know what I mean?” he tells PEOPLE. “I don’t know what to say other than I was walking down the streets of New York with friends, taking pictures and videos. It was just like a frenetic thing. I did not think about the details or the consequences. I still am regretful.”

That post — since deleted and apologized for — received swift and widespread criticism. At the same time, Rose, 40, was appearing in the final episodes of Southern Charm‘s sixth season, where he was on opposite sides with friend and costar Austen Kroll over the beer maker’s on-off girlfriend, Madison LeCroy.

Rose’s antics (“a little pugnacious,” he calls himself … and also “a little clever SOB”) also put him on the wrong side of other cast members, who called him out as an elitist, among other things, during the season 6 reunion.

“Last season was kind of rough for me,” Rose says. He’s talking about his own behavior, but he’s also talking about the whole ecosystem around the reality show — the viewers at home, the BravoCon attendees, the Twitter trolls — who maybe, he thinks, don’t quite understand who he really is.

“If you’re a fan of the show, you’ve been watching the show, and you think I’m like some manipulative a——, then you really aren’t paying attention, in my humble opinion,” Rose says. “I want generally to be friends with everybody, and I genuinely have affection for a lot of people on the show.”

He and Kroll, for example, are “as close now as we’ve ever been.” But, he acknowledges, “We don’t talk about relationships anymore.”

“The show is difficult because you have to walk a razor’s edge of being funny, and you’ve got to say what’s on your mind. Otherwise, what do you have, right?” Rose says. “So it’s a razor’s edge. Like you might offend somebody. Things might snowball and get out of control.”

Shep Rose

RELATED VIDEO: Southern Charm‘s Craig Conover Accidentally Made Shep and Austen Rekindle Their Friendship

An omnivorous thinker, Rose is as likely to reference the writer Sam Harris in conversation as he is presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg. He’s a chameleon, not an elitist, he says.

But that Twitter video: He says that stuck with him.

The clip, posted in early August, showed Rose jeering at a woman who was hiding her face from his camera while sitting on the sidewalk, “Look at me, nice cans! I mean, the cans you have!” He wrote in a caption, “I love double entendres. Yes she was camera shy. But she laughed.” (“What an embarrassment,” one fan responded.)

“It was tough on me, but it was tough on the people that I love, you know?” Rose tells PEOPLE. “So that part was just really difficult to get through. I hope I never have to be involved in anything like that again. That was like a really dark, dark time. But it lasted for a few weeks to where I just could think of nothing else. It just really sucks. And of course I had no one to blame but myself. Absolutely no one. So that makes it even harder.”

“Live and learn,” he says now. “I think I made a couple of little decisions after that that I think were the right ones. And I’m going to try to adhere to my little promises to myself.”

Such as?

“Maybe try to focus on things that are beneficial to you — not just, you know, getting hammered in New York,” “Rose says. “You know what I mean? And that’s sort of the crux of it. … Not saying I’m a saint, and I’m not saying I’ll ever be a saint, but just try to make little adjustments. Fine-tune stuff.”

Rose acknowledges he has “mixed emotions” about returning to film season 7 in the coming months, even though he is excited.

Shep Rose

Away from the camera, he has other projects — TV shows in development, he teases, and interest in him writing a book of essays. There’s also his apparel line, Shep Gear, with which he raised $25,000 for hurricane relief in the Bahamas. And he made a video with a young girl in Charleston, helping tell her story of surviving a spinal cord injury and supporting her fundraising.

He has some “promising prospects” in his love life, too, but is staying mum.

Way back when, he didn’t say yes to Bravo thinking he’d still be on a TV show after six years. “It’s been positive, overwhelmingly so,” he says. With a few exceptions.

“Last season is behind me, and I never want to think about it ever again,” he says. “I happily put that behind me in the dustbin of time.”

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