Trying accountability

Jada Thomas, Staff Writer

For several years, Keith Habersberger, Ned Fulmer, Zach Kornfeld and Eugene Lee Yang, better known as The Try Guys, had been associated with BuzzFeed, YouTube and media obsessions people had in middle school; however, during the last week of September, their image became tied to something completely unexpected: a cheating scandal. Throughout the week, rumors began bubbling up — including the notice of Fulmer’s absence from The Try Guys’ latest videos and a Reddit user claiming to have seen him kissing a woman other than his wife. Then, on Sept. 27, amidst an atmosphere of speculation, The Try Guys released a statement announcing that Fulmer would no longer be working with them. 

Why was this so shocking to the internet? The clear answer is because of how loudly devoted Fulmer was to his wife, Ariel Fulmer. Longtime fans of the group were aware that Fulmer had made loving his wife his entire personality, so much so that people argued he was a “wife guy.” The New York Times describes a wife guy as a man who “is crafting a whole persona around being that guy. He married a woman, and now that is his personality.” This leaves one to wonder: How can you build part of your personal brand around loving someone just to end up cheating on them? In the words of Fulmer himself, who posted a statement a few hours after that of The Try Guys, it was because he “lost focus and had a consensual workplace relationship.” Fulmer goes on to apologize, stating, “I’m sorry for any pain that my actions may have caused to the guys and the fans but most of all to Ariel.”

Although the apology and admission of wrongdoing are refreshing to see, boiling cheating down to a loss of focus is a gross minimization. Cheating is an offense that is far more brutal — it is taking someone’s heart, which they have entrusted in your care, and crushing it. This is what anyone who cheats does to their partner, and this is what Fulmer did to his wife. The same wife to whom he spoke the sacred “I do” and raised two children with. By disregarding his marriage and family, Fulmer jeopardized them both for the sake of an affair with one of his employees. 

Fulmer’s career is also high on the list of things he jeopardized due to his actions. In a video posted on The Try Guys YouTube channel a few days after their statement, the remaining members of the group displayed full transparency about what had happened. They explained that they first became aware of Fulmer’s affair at the beginning of September, causing them to begin what Yang detailed as a “three-week process of engaging with employment lawyers, corporate lawyers, [Human Resources], [Public Relations] and more, in order to make sure we were taking all the necessary steps from the jump.” Following this process, The Try Guys concluded that they no longer saw a way forward with Fulmer as a part of their group, which led to them releasing their initial statement. It was incredibly admirable of The Try Guys to release a video addressing the entirety of the situation, as well as clearly explaining how they plan to move forward, rather than sweeping it under the rug. This not only shows that they understand the gravity of Fulmer’s actions and how they impacted the group, but it also tells their fans that they aim to be better than the senseless acts of their ex-member. 

Simply put, Fulmer deserved to lose everything he had built with The Try Guys. Cheating is one of the most selfish acts a person can commit; someone who cheats thinks only of themselves — not the friends who trusted them and certainly not the one they vowed to love “until death do us part.” If a person is so unsatisfied in their relationship, then they should at the very least have enough decency to break up with their partner instead of stabbing them in the back. But Fulmer made his decision and now he has to deal with the consequences. By firing Fulmer and being transparent about what happened, The Try Guys made all the best moves. Choices that stem from accountability are always the right ones.