Buzzfeed has given rise to many successful content creators, the most notable probably being Abbott Elementary creator Quinta Brunson. But Brunson aside, The Try Guys may be a close second. The group consisted of four men—Keith Habersberger, Ned Fulmer, Zach Kornfeld, and Eugene Lee Yang—and their whole conceit was making videos in which they try, well, pretty much anything: high diving, eating the entire menu at a restaurant, various cooking challenges, wearing nail extensions or corsets, and so much more.
But they became even more famous, for all the wrong reasons, when Fulmer was accused on Sept. 25 of cheating on his wife with an employee. The group acted quickly and unceremoniously kicked him out. Fulmer was also cut from new videos, the merch campaign, and episodes of their Food Network television show, No Recipe Road Trip with the Try Guys. The exposé started out as rumors in a popular Reddit thread; many fans read into the silence from the rest of the group as a sign that things were amiss.
Fulmer’s removal from the group came at the same time as the Internet was focused on another alleged cheating scandal. In late September an Instagram model named Sumner Stroh claimed that she had been having an affair with Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine. He later denied the affair but said that he used “poor judgment in speaking with anyone other than my wife in ANY kind of flirtatious manner.” Soon after, it was revealed that Celtics coach Ime Udoka, fiancé to actor Nia Long, also engaged in an “improper intimate and consensual relationship” with a colleague.
After much speculation and gossip, the Try Guys released a video on Oct. 3 addressing Fulmer’s actions and what is next for the company. Here’s how the group got to this point:
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Who are the Try Guys and why are they popular?
The Try Guys were all Buzzfeed employees who began making videos for the publication in 2014. During their tenure there, they accumulated over 103 million views across the more than 100 videos they published. In June 2018, they branched off to launch their own channel and form their own production company. Since then, they have amassed close to 8 million followers and a devoted following.
Each of them has his own distinct, lovable personality, but none more than Fulmer. He was the “Wife Guy”—the member whose entire persona was wrapped up in how much he loved his wife. This side of him could be seen as early as the intro video to their channel and throughout many videos over the years.
Fulmer’s wife, Ariel, has been in multiple Try Guys videos, and the couple co-authored the Date Night Cookbook and co-hosted a podcast called Baby Steps. The Try Guys even made a video about the birth of their first son.
How the drama unfolded on social media
Fans noticed something was off when Fulmer was noticeably absent from recent videos posted to the YouTube channel. The videos usually begin with an intro in which all four members are featured, but starting on Sept. 14, Fulmer was no longer in them. Fulmer also seemed to be edited out of more recent videos. In late September, a Reddit user shared photos in a now-deleted post on the r/TheTryGuys Reddit thread that appeared to show Fulmer making out with his employee, associate producer Alexandria Herring (who was engaged) in New York City. At first, the allegations were just hearsay, as the photos were blurry and not much could be corroborated.
But on Sept. 27, the Try Guys confirmed that Fulmer was no longer part of the comedy group in a statement posted to their social media pages. “Ned is no longer working with the Try Guys,” the post said. “As a result of a thorough internal review, we do not see a path forward together. We thank you for your support as we navigate this change.”
The same day, Fulmer also posted a statement to his social media accounts, saying that he “lost focus and had a consensual workplace relationship.” He apologized for “any pain he may have caused” and said that he will be focusing on his marriage and his children.
Ariel also uploaded a statement to Instagram, thanking everyone who reached out to her. “Nothing is more important to me and Ned than our family, and all we request right now is that you respect our privacy for the sake of our kids.”
What the remaining Try Guys have said to fans
On Oct. 3, the remaining members of the group uploaded an earnest video to their YouTube page titled, “what happened.” The video seemed to be coming from a genuine place, reflecting the pain and disappointment of their difficult decision to cut their friend out of the company they built together. Yang, many noted, looked like he was seething. His face said it all as they took turns delivering the statement to their employees and fans.
They revealed that they began an internal review during Labor Day weekend after they were made aware of Fulmer’s actions by an employee, but that they did not know about the workplace relationship prior to this. “It’s hard to rewatch old videos that we love and are proud of. We’re losing a friend,” Kornfeld said. “We’re losing someone we built a company with, we have countless memories with.”
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The men also said that Fulmer was intentionally cut from their recent videos and there are multiple videos they can’t release because of Fulmer’s involvement, which will cost them money, but they wanted to make sure they sent a clear message.
TikTok users remembered that Yang and Ariel have been friends for a long time, which may have helped explain his facial expressions and tone throughout the video. “This is something we took very seriously,” Yang said in the video. “We refused to sweep things under the rug. That is not who we are and that is not what we stand for.”
How social media ignited a firestorm
Given the personas that the Try Guys have cultivated over the years, it was surprising that a drama like this would come from this group—especially from someone who very publicly stated his love for his wife on multiple occasions. Many people felt like they were lied to by Fulmer and connected this so-called betrayal to those of other “Wife Guys” like Levine and comedian John Mulaney, whose faithfulness to his ex-wife was called into question by fans when he got together with current partner Olivia Munn.
“Adam Levine, John Mulaney, and now Ned Fulmer from Try Guys making the unholy trinity of saltines who make their brand about loving their wife and still cheat,” one person tweeted.
But Fulmer’s situation was different because, as people pointed out, his workplace relationship with a junior employee of the company of which he is a part-owner inherently features a power imbalance.
After seeing Yang’s face in the statement video, many fans wanted to know more about his feelings on the situation. “i think that Eugene Lee Yang should be given legal clearance to say absolutely whatever he wants about Ned Fulmer.”
What’s next for the Try Guys?
At the end of the statement video, Habersberger said that the men are focused on creating the best content possible from now until the end of the year. After that, they’ll think more about the future of the channel as a whole. They ended the video saying that they look forward to “introducing you to the next era of the Try Guys ahead.”
The day after it was announced that Fulmer would be leaving the Try Guys, Ned and Ariel were spotted out together by paparazzi and told the photographers that they were “working on working things out.”
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