Update: The Try Guys and Ned Fulmer released statements on Tuesday afternoon about allegations of an affair between Fulmer and an employee. The story has been updated to reflect that.
The Try Guys, a popular YouTube group featuring Eugene Lee Yang, Zach Kornfeld, Keith Habersberger and Ned Fulmer, former BuzzFeed darlings who broke off to create their own own YouTube channel in 2018 with huge success, have found themselves in the center of a scandal it looks like they were trying to keep quiet, culminating in Fulmer’s removal from the team.
Users on the subreddit r/TryGuys noticed that member Ned Fulmer has been absent from videos, podcasts and posts on their social media accounts for about a month, while his wife, Ariel Fulmer, has been absent from a podcast made by her and the other wives of the members (called You Can Sit With Us). Fans of the Try Guys then started noticing that it wasn’t just that Ned wasn’t featured in the videos, they believed he was actively being edited out of content.
Then, another user posted screenshots of supposed Instagram DMs that claim to show an employee of the Try Guys company, Alexandria Herring, hooking up with Fulmer at a club in New York City. There are grainy video screenshots of the alleged hookup which got posted to the subreddit, and had users speculating that that was the reason Fulmer had been removed from content. What followed is a complicated “who unfollowed who” chain (Herring and her fiancé have deleted photos of each other announcing their engagement) and possible changes in Twitter bios.
As the Try Guys are hugely popular on the internet — with 7.83 million YouTube subscribers and over two billion total views on their current channel — the subreddit, Twitter and TikTok have all exploded at the onset of these allegations.
On social media on Tuesday, the Try Guys released a statement saying that that after “a thorough internal review,” they decided Fulmer would not be working with the team going forward.
Afterwards, Fulmer posted his own statement admitting to a “consensual workplace relationship,” as well as apologizing to his wife Ariel, and saying he was going to “focus [his] attention” on his marriage and children.
While the details of this saga are still coming out, it’s hitting a nerve online partly because Fulmer was considered a “wife guy,” a term described by Know Your Meme as “men online who post devotedly about their wives, often to a suspicious degree, as though they were doing so for some means of personal gain.” In fact, it was a pillar of his personality in the Try Guys group and online since they began at BuzzFeed. There are multiple YouTube compilations of him and his wife with titles like “ned and ariel being absolutely perfect” and “Best moments of Ned talking about Ariel,” and his growing family and devotion to his wife were a part of his persona that people found appealing.
In our era of parasocial relationships, the relationship between a YouTuber and their audience is increasingly profound. This scandal has spectators comparing Fulmer to comedian John Mulaney, who was previously described as a wife guy before his separation and eventual divorce from Anna Marie Tendler had the entire internet acting like they were being told their parents were divorcing for a second time. In other words, the case of Ned Fulmer is seen by some as further proof that “wife guys” might be overcompensating for something.
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