The Try Guys, the comedy group that rose to fame on YouTube and built a mini media empire, announced Tuesday that it will stop working with one of its founding members, Ned Fulmer, after he said he had an affair with an employee.
Fulmer, who is also an executive producer for Try Guys, Apologized On Tuesday, he admitted to his wife and fans on social media that he had a “consensual workplace relationship”.
After gaining fame on Buzzfeed’s main YouTube channel, Try Guys launched their own company in 2018. His independent YouTube channel has since gained over 7.8 million subscribers and 2.1 billion views. He has also launched a podcast, published a New York Times best-selling book, toured the United States and signed a deal with the Food Network for a cooking show based on one of his popular video series.
The Tri Guys, which consists of several characters, are known for videos that show them engaging in innovative activities such as swimming with sharks or being hypnotized on camera. Although his videos are often full of adult humor, Fulmer has tried to differentiate himself by developing a personal brand centered around his image as a husband and father. Fan accounts on YouTube claim that Fuller says “my wife” every time in Try Guys videos. Together, Fulmer and his partner, Ariel, published “The Date Night Cookbook,” a collection of recipes, and launched a parenting podcast.
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Fulmer has partnered with companies such as Target and the Thomas & Friends children’s toy brand. In an Instagram ad last year, he awkwardly juggled a sippy cup and a bottle of baby powder before revealing the doll in his image. The doll shouts “My wife!” In Fulmer’s voice when the button is pressed.
“It’s almost schadenfreude. … People are incredibly sensitive to irony,” said Colin Campbell, a marketing professor at the University of San Diego. “By putting himself in that arena, he’s gone against himself and made himself a fantastic target for people to make fun of him and share memes or whatever kind of stuff about him.”
In the hours leading up to the announcement, speculation about Fulmer’s departure was rife on social media, and the term “Wife Guy” trended on Twitter after the Tri Guys released their statement. The term is often used for men who gain internet fame by creating content about their wives.
Try Guys could risk losing an advertising partner if Fulmer remains part of the group, Campbell said. Brands often sign contracts with clauses that allow them to reevaluate the contract if their partner does “anything that goes against the brand’s corporate values,” such as having a relationship with a subordinate, he said.
“If I were a brand, I’m unlikely to continue working with them, at least until more information comes out,” he added.
Representatives for the Food Network, Try Guys and the publisher of “The Date Night Cookbook” could not immediately be reached for comment late Tuesday.