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Bye bye Try Guy

Bye bye Try Guy

0:00

Youtuber Ned Fulmer has fallen from grace after it was revealed that he was having an affair with one of his employees. What does the scandal tell us about the world of internet stars and the stories they tell about themselves?

“I don’t think we can talk about buzzfeed’s success though without mentioning super popular series they had. Like Buzzfeed Unsolved, which focused on covering unsolved mysteries; Ladylike, which had viral content aimed towards ladies; or, of course, the Try Guys who tried a lot of things and had a very devoted fan base.”

Casey Aonso, YouTube

From 2013 to 2016, online news site Buzzfeed was pulling in over a billion YouTube views a month. 

Now a relic of the millennial era of the internet, many of the series and the stars Buzzfeed produced still enjoy success. Among them The Try Guys. 

“Hey, I’m Zach. I’m Keith. I’m Ned. And I’m Eugene.”

Insider, YouTube

As a group of four clean-living young men, The Try Guys first came to fame in 2014 during that Buzzfeed era of Youtube.

Their videos include: “The Try Guys Test Their Sperm Count”, “The Try Guys Try Not To Die At Sea” and “The Try Guys Try Boob Contouring”.

“The more I look at it, the more I’m just like, yeah, I’ve always had boobs, of course.”

BuzzFeedVideo, YouTube

Since creating their own channel and production company in 2018, they have received over 1 and a half billion views, 7 and a half million subscribers, a recurring show on the Food Network and even a book deal. 

And a huge part of what made the group such a success was their “good guys” image, fans were endeared to their seemingly never-ending niceness. 

Which is why when a scandal broke out, they had to act fast.

***

It all started when multiple videos and photos surfaced of Try Guys member, Ned Fulmer, with a woman. The pair were kissing and holding hands.

“Ned Fulmer is no longer working with the Try Guys.”

The Try Guys, YouTube

Not only was the woman in the video not his wife. The woman in the video was his employee. 

“Ned confirmed the reports and since confirmed that this had been going on for some time which was obviously very shocking to us… and we just want you to know that we had no idea.”

The Try Guys, YouTube

In a notes app apology, Ned wrote that “the only thing that matters right now is my marriage and my children, and that’s where I’m going to focus my attention”.


So what sets this apart from any other run-of-the-mill celebrity cheating scandal?

Ned Fulmer fitted “The Wife Guy” archetype to a tee. Constantly posting photos of Ariel on his Instagram and talking about her in Try Guys videos. He turned being the perfect, loving, and doting husband into his entire brand.

***

“Ned, you and Ariel are so cute together, is any of it just for show? Ned: Yeah sure Lie detector man: He’s telling the truth.”

Spill Sesh, YouTube

Ned Fulmer is, of course, not the first “Wife Guy” to get caught slipping.

Only last month, Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine – who has featured his wife and daughter in his music videos in the past – was exposed sending inappropriate DMs to multiple women on Instagram.

“When you make your entire online persona being a “Wife Guy”, you’re much more likely to think: ‘well I’m not gonna cheat on my wife’… and then you cheat on your wife.”

TikTok TeaTime, YouTube

In the age of the internet, curating a perfect public persona has real-world benefits. But problems arise when the very publicised moral standard of loyalty is not adhered to in private as well.

As Kylie Cheung wrote for Jezebel: 

Our default assumption is that heterosexual marriages are unhappy, that most men don’t care for their wives, that those who do love their wives are automatically deserving of our collective adoration.

But “loving your wife” is not a particularly high standard and doesn’t set an especially difficult bar for men in heterosexual relationships to reach, especially if it can make them money. 

The scandal also serves as yet another example of how easily a reputation can be destroyed by someone’s private life.

Parasocial relationships –  an illusory relationship that a person imagines having with someone they don’t know – are common for those who are chronically online. 

***

In an emotionally charged video statement released a few days ago, Ned Fulmer has been reprimanded by and expressly isolated from the Try Guys, the group he helped bring to fame.

“From the jump, we were acutely aware of just how contrary this was to the values of the company we’ve built and everyone who works here.

“I don’t think that we’ll ever be able to fully articulate the pain we feel at this moment. It’s hard to rewatch old videos that we love and are proud of. We’re losing a friend, we’re losing someone we’ve built a company with, countless memories with.”

The Try Guys, YouTube

Ned Fulmer may never fully rebuild his reputation. What’s clear is that when building an online brand – what’s private can still matter just as much as what’s public. 

This episode was written by Tomini Babs and mixed by Sean Collins.



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