Last week, the internet was ablaze when it was announced that Ned Fulmer, one of the Try Guys, had been let go from the company he co-founded following the revelations that he had engaged in an affair with one of their employees. It became the social media scandal of the week, a moment of meme-friendly jokes and bemusement from people who had no idea who the Try Guys were. As someone who does know who they are and is a self-described fan, I knew the real weight of the moment. I already wrote about it here, so I won’t repeat myself, but to quickly summarize things: Ned Fulmer’s image as the loving Wife Guy and father fell to pieces with the news of his infidelity, and also put at risk the brand that he had crafted with his colleagues and friends for close to a decade. Now, the remaining Try Guys — Keith Habersberger, Zach Kornfeld, and Eugene Lee Yang — have released a video addressing the news.
The video details as much as they are able to on the matter that has messy legal entanglements. They note that they had no idea of Fulmer’s infidelity or the extent of it, and that they each signed approval to remove Fulmer as a manager and employee of the company on September 16. The need to make a statement on the matter was expedited when videos of Fulmer cheating with an employee went viral.
Kornfeld said, ‘We immediately removed Ned from work activities and engaged an HR professional to conduct a thorough review of the facts. We also opted to remove Ned from our releases, pending results of that review.’ This includes several videos that ‘we’ve deemed as fully unreleasable. You will never see them and that is due to his involvement. That’s a decision that cost us lots of money. We will not be able to recoup that money, but it’s a decision we stand by proudly.’
Habersberger shared that the trio are continuing to work with their editing team to remove Fulmer from future releases that have already been filmed, although he will still be present in some sponsored content because of corporate commitments that predate his exit.
Yang, who looks utterly furious throughout the video, said, ‘We are obviously incredibly shocked and deeply hurt by all of this. This is someone who we built a brand and a company with for eight years. We feel saddened, not just personally, but on behalf of our staff and our fans who believed in us.’
The existing trio and their employees will continue to work together, although they also admitted that they’re still trying to find out what the future of their company looks like. As Kornfeld noted, ‘We’re losing a friend.’
I have to say, this is kind of the perfect video on what must be a tough matter. It’s articulate, detailed but also aware of what it must hold back, and as transparent as it can be given the circumstances. They’ve done an investigation, accepted the results, and taken a tough and financially costly decision to fix the problem. I imagine it’s expensive to not only remove a partner from your company but also remove him from the many videos you have to release just to recoup some of your costs. And remember, the Try Guys just got a Food Network show and now that channel has basically dumped it in a terrible slot. Fulmer could have jeopardized their entire brand. This isn’t just a Wife Guy screwing up: It’s a businessman wrecking the livelihoods of many people.
And yes, it is kind of glaring that their video is a better apology than Fulmer’s whole ‘I lost focus’ nonsense, and they’re not even the ones who messed up. I’ve already seen people claim this is ridiculous and overheated, but what else could they do? Their brand is built on an image of non-toxic male camaraderie that primarily appeals to women, and now they have to pick up the pieces not only of that shattered persona but the messy legal, financial, and ethical situation left behind (they also have a Patreon to maintain and fans to answer to on that front.) We have no idea how bad things really got behind the scenes, and this is them trying to be honest without spilling everything. Remember, there is a woman with two young children at the heart of this.
Frankly, any YouTuber who f**ks up in the future may want to use this video as a good template for being accountable. I hope the Try (Tri?) Guys keep going on and find a way to move past the mess.