Try Guys to Tri Guys

Popular social media group, The Try Guys, go from four to three when it was revealed that Ned Fulmer cheated on his wife which resulted in public backlash.

From John Mulany to the uncomfortable Adam Levine DMs, there has been a constant stream of cheating scandals these past years, but it was a shock to everyone when social media influencer Ned Fulmer was accused of cheating on his wife, Ariel, of 10 years. 

For those who don’t know the Try Guys, they are a famous social media group with four members: Keith Habersberger, Ned Fulmer, Zach Kornfeld, and Eugene Lee Yang. They debuted at Buzzfeed making short videos like “The Try Guys Try Makeup Tutorials” and “The Try Guys Taste Test Jerky” and quickly became very popular. At Buzzfeed their videos would consistently get anywhere from 1 to 20 million views, their most watched video at Buzzfeed being “The Try Guys Try Drag for the First Time” which got 38 million views. Thanks to their popularity at Buzzfeed, they were able to make their own Try Guys company where they could have complete creative control over their own content. Everything was going extremely well, they created a successful business with a YouTube channel of 7.84 million subscribers, brand deals with large companies like Target, published a book, made a documentary, went on tour around America, and got their own show on Food Network, until the beginning of September when fans started to notice that something was off. 

In the three most recent Try Guys videos, fans speculated that Ned Fulmer was being cut out of videos for unknown reasons. In the Try Guys new series “Phoning It In” where they phone in professional bakers to explain the steps on how to make different challenging desserts, Ned was a judge in the first episode yet not in second. Fans noticed, due to the weird editing of the background, that Ned was purposely cut out during editing. The same occurred in the video “Keith Eats Everything at a Vegas Buffet,” where on instagram Ned was posing with Keith and the other guests in the video, yet suspiciously he was not included in it. The same goes with the video “Try Guys Try Stand-Up Comedy” where Ned was on the set of the video yet was cut out of it, pointed out by fans due to the weird editing of the video; off centered cropping and excessive close ups of Euguene, Keith, and Zach, which convinced fans that the Try Guys were purposely trying to separate themselves from Ned. On the Try Guys instagram page, they also gradually stopped posting photos of Ned, leaving fans to wonder what was happening.

Then on September 26th, something truly shocking happened; leaked photos of Ned came out kissing their production manager, Alex, at a bar in New York City. Although fans still speculated about the authenticity of the photos, they were very blurry and could have been really any middle aged white man. Also considering that the Try Guys have millions of followers, they are bound to encounter some people who will try to spread hate on the internet for no reason, the pictures (at first) seemed like another rumor with no actual truth behind them. Yet, screenshots came out between the person who took the photos and the fiancee of Alex, where he said he “spoke to Ariel for an hour” and then proceeded to unfollow Alex on instagram. This made the accusations more believable, but since the Try Guys or anyone close to them did not release a statement confirming the allegations, there was no way to know if they were true or not. 

Then on September 27th, after the photo went viral on twitter, the Try Guys confirmed the cheating allegations when they posted on their instagram a statement that “Ned Fulmer is no longer working with the Try Guys” and that “as a result of a thorough internal review, we do not see a path forward together.” Ariel also posted a statement on her instagram, asking for everyone to respect their privacy for the sake of their family. Ned also posted a statement which said that, “Family should have always been my priority, but I lost focus and had a consensual workplace relationship,” followed by expressing his guilt towards Ariel, his kids, the other Try Guys members, and telling his fans and that he is going to focus his attention on his marriage and children now. 

The Try Guys handled this unfortunate situation the best way they could, considering that there were a lot of legal issues regarding the affair. The reason Ned worded his statement a certain way by saying he engaged in a “consensual workplace relationship” was to avoid a lawsuit. From a legal perspective, relationships between a boss and someone who works under them can be the cause of a power imbalance or lead to one which negates consent. Davinia Chew, the co-founder of Allegedly, states that, “[imbalanced power relationships] allows the person wielding power to control and influence the other party, whether intentionally or not. The individual with less power may feel obligated, pressured, anxious, and/or coerced into ceding to the person with more power, because not consenting has potential to create negative consequences.” So even if there was no power imbalance in the relationship between Ned and Alex, there are still a lot of legal issues involved due to the possible violation of established standards of conduct the Try Guys have implemented at their business. Meaning, Ned not only ruined his personal relationships with his family and friends, but he also put the Try Guys company at risk for lawsuits and losing brand deals. In the Try Guys’ latest video addressing the scandal, Keith said that “there are several videos that we’ve deemed as fully unreleasable. You will never see them and that’s due to his involvement,” which will inevitably make them lose a lot of money. They also stated that they have known about the cheating since the beginning of September, but they were waiting to make a statement due to the legality issues of the situation and wanted to give themselves and Ned’s family time to process what happened. 

Ned cheating on Ariel was definitely shocking for everyone considering that his whole brand was centered around his wife. He was known as the “wife guy” since he constantly mentioned his wife in all the videos. He then grew a brand out of being married and having a family, accepting brand deals with Target, and also making a cookbook with his wife, Ariel. So it really was shocking to discover that he cheated on his wife of 10 years. In their latest video the Try Guys also discussed how hard it was for them to lose their friend. “It’s hard to rewatch old videos that we love and are proud of. We’re losing a friend,” Zach said. “We’re losing someone we built a company with, we have countless memories with.” Fans are also extremely disappointed, angry and shocked about the affair, longtime fan Carolyn Selvidge said, “I am incredibly upset, hurt, and betrayed after so many years. All we were left with was a notes app apology, he should be ashamed of himself.”

The Try Guys posted on twitter that they will be releasing a podcast on October 6th which will probably go into more detail about what the future of the Try Guys looks like without Ned. Yet, I doubt they will discuss much of the actual affair due to legal issues. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for the Try Guys and hopefully they will bounce back soon.