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When the Internet Beats the PR Team to the Punch

Published on Oct. 17, 2022 at 4:10 p.m.
by Annabelle Blomeley

Ned Fulmer seemed like the perfect husband. For years, he embodied an online personality with his wife, Ariel, at the very center. Prior to last week, Fulmer was one-fourth of The Try Guys, a YouTube channel featuring four guys just trying different things.

While the other members of the team ate entire menus and created elaborate coming-out videos, Fulmer’s schtick was that he was a family man. When the news broke on Sept. 27 that he had cheated on his wife with an employee, his entire curated persona fell apart in mere hours.

Like many scandals, the allegations started on Twitter and Reddit. Photos of Fulmer and Alexandria Herring, an associate producer for The Try Guys and a personality in their videos, making out at a concert erupted in the early hours.

Photo Courtesy of 2nd Try LLC

With the news suddenly swirling around social media, a public relations storm finally hit land. Some were claiming that the other Try Guys knew about Fulmer’s infidelity for years, so The Try Guys’ PR team needed to work fast.

Within hours, Fulmer released a statement on his personal social media, confirming that he “lost focus and had a consensual workplace relationship.”

As the news and conspiracies grew throughout the day, The Try Guys released a statement by mid-afternoon that confirmed Fulmer was no longer a member of The Try Guys after a “thorough internal review.”

With the initial crisis communications covered, the team’s nearly 8 million subscribers eagerly awaited an explanation, and on Oct. 3, they got just that when The Try Guys released their first video on YouTube since the news broke.

Photo Courtesy of The Try Guys via YouTube

Staring solemnly into the camera, Keith Habersberger, Eugene Lee Yang and Zach Kornfield explained that, although they can’t say much for legal reasons, they’re disappointed that they lost a friend who put their team in an uncomfortable position.

In the video, Habersberger explained that the team was first alerted by fans of the inappropriate behavior during Labor Day weekend; however, he made it clear that The Try Guys did not know about any cheating prior to September.

“And thus began a three-week process of engaging with employment lawyers, corporate lawyers, HR, PR and more in order to make sure we were taking all necessary steps,” Lee Yang said in the video.

It appears that The Try Guys were hoping for a little more time for the affected parties to process the infidelity and for their lawyers to make sure everything was in order. But with the internet, sometimes time isn’t a luxury for public relations practitioners anxiously awaiting news to break.

“Now we were always planning on a public statement, and we’re working toward that with our team, but in light of rapidly accelerating speculation, we knew we couldn’t wait any longer,” Lee Yang said.

Photo Courtesy of Christian Wiediger via Unsplash

The Try Guys and their PR team were as ready as they could be when the storm finally hit, even if it didn’t happen on their own terms. It seems that the remaining Try Guys have escaped relatively unscathed due to their quick and honest handling of what could have been a PR nightmare.

Fulmer’s recent scandal and ousting are a reminder that news and gossip don’t always break when we want, so we must be ready at any moment with a clear message and a plan moving forward.

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