The Try Guys scandal: No more ‘Mr. Wife Guy’


Frazer Harrison

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

The Try Guys” will be “trying” activities as a trio from now on. 

Originally consisting of members Eugene Lee YangKeith Habersberger, Zach Kornfeld and Ned Fulmer, the group got their start at Buzzfeed in 2014 before leaving to establish their own company, 2nd Try LLC, in 2018. They are known for “trying” a wide variety of activities, such as visiting a chiropractor and baking without a recipe

After images began circulating which suggested Fulmer was cheating on his wife with a subordinate, “The Try Guys” released a statement on Sept. 27 relaying that after an internal review, Fulmer would no longer be working with the company. Fulmer came out with his own statement that same day, stating that he “lost focus and had a consensual workplace relationship.”

When Oakland University freshman Zena Kissinger found out that Fulmer cheated on his wife, it hit close to home. Coming from a divorced family, Kissinger believes she knows how Fulmer’s wife, Ariel, feels. 

“I just know how uncomfortable Ariel and her kids must feel right now,” Kissinger said. 

Each “Try Guy” molded their own image. Fulmer was known as the “wife guy” of the group, which is why it came as a shock to OU freshman Amber Cicilian — who has been a “Try Guys” fan since 2019 — that Fulmer had been cheating on his wife. 

“He just seems so deceitful in my eyes now,” Cicilian said. “I think so many people liked him because he was so wholesome, but now he’s just completely destroyed his reputation.”

Erin Meyers, the Assistant Director of the Women and Gender Studies (WGS) program at OU, believes the reason Fulmer’s cheating scandal became such a huge spectacle is due to YouTube being a platform that highly values “authenticity.”

“What makes YouTube stars and other social media stars different from more traditional stars is — we know that traditional stars are at least pretending in some way,” Meyers said. “When a [performer] is up on stage or screen, they’re pretending to be someone else. YouTubers are just sharing themselves, and that’s what draws us to them — that private self.”

While Meyers doesn’t believe that Fulmer made up his “wife guy” persona from the beginning, she thinks that he used his love for his wife as a method of setting himself apart from the other “Try Guys.” 

“It became a good way to be distinct,” she said. “[Fulmer’s ‘wife guy’ persona] also [kept] to that sense of ordinariness and realness in a way that I think fits in with some of the trends in that kind of celebrity. I think [it] probably attracted women to ‘The Try Guys,’ to be like ‘oh, he’s just a really good guy,’ and that’s his persona.”

The incident with Fulmer may have caused increased skepticism of the authenticity of the “wife guy” persona, but Meyers says that it’s a persona that will never really go away. 

“I think people will continue to be more skeptical of it, but I don’t think it’ll go away,” Meyers said. “I think that it’ll just take a different form — all of these kinds of celebrity stereotypes always come back around or reemerge in different kinds of forms.”