The Ned Fulmer Cheating Scandal Shows Romantic Love Should Never Be a Performance
Something as basic as loving your spouse should not be the centrepiece of someone’s identity, whether public or private, as the recent Try Guys scandal shows.
As ubiquitous as love is around the world, so is adultery. Affairs occur in all locations, and people of all backgrounds have been guilty of cheating on their partners. The latest controversy is not the usual part of the Hollywood bubble, but more for massive YouTube fame. Specifically, the guilty party in question appears to be Ned Fulmer of the Try Guys.
The married Fulmer was caught cheating on his wife Ariel Fulmer and was unceremoniously dumped from the wildly popular comedic group.
There are plenty of examples of celebrity relationships that lasted for decades and show all the hints of being in a healthy condition. That being said, the culture makes it look like loving marriages are a rarity, and in Fulmer’s case, a complete farce.
Who Are the Try Guys? History and the Basics of the Comedy Group
The Try Guys is the name of both an entertainment group and a media production company that creates the work uploaded to their YouTube channel. The eponymous Try Guys formerly consisted of Ned Fulmer, Eugene Lee Yang, Zach Kornfeld, and Keith Habersberger. However, as of September 2022, only the latter three are part of the group.
The guys founded their group while working at BuzzFeed, and eventually grew into an autonomous force of Internet entertainment with over 500 episodes being produced over the course of eight years.
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As the name of the show implies, the Try Guys are all about trying out new things. The group has attempted various things like testing their sperm count, baby photography, shaving their legs, and wearing women’s underwear.
Despite the absurdities that come with a schtick of that kind, it is undeniable that the Try Guys’ formula has worked in their favor. Their videos regularly get millions of views, and it did not take long for their career to become successful enough to become their full-time jobs, earning them independence from BuzzFeed in the process.
The Ned Fulmer Cheating Controversy and Why It Especially Hurt
Ned Fulmer was recently fired from the group and the company that bears the Try Guys name, creating a trend of discussions across social media. The termination of his employment was due to Fulmer, a married man with two children, having an alleged affair with another employee of the company, who was engaged at the time.
Although both Fulmer and his spouse, Ariel, have made public comments regarding the controversy, the affair has yet to be fully proven. However, with all the evidence that has been piling up, in addition to Ariel’s removal of the word “wife” from her social media accounts, it’s safe to say that the allegations are true.
Of course, cheating on a partner, especially a spouse, is to be condemned for most people, regardless of the context. With all that being said, there is an additional layer to the Ned Fulmer controversy that makes this specific affair especially ironic and particularly painful. Fulmer had the reputation of a “wife guy”, a man whose public persona is dependent on endless admiration for his wife. John Mulaney is another public figure to have been associated with the term in recent memory.
The difference between the two is that while the subjects of Mulaney’s stand-up comedy incorporated more diverse topics than being in love with his wife, Ned Fulmer turned his “wife guy” gimmick into his own personal brand. As a result, the affair not only exposes him as completely hypocritical, but superficial as well.
This is not just about committing an act that society overwhelmingly condemns, but a complete betrayal of the image Fulmer has been setting up for himself in the past eight years. It is comparable to a celebrity activist that contradicts the political position they proudly affirm, but in a much more personal and bitter fashion.
What Can Be Learned from the Ned Fulmer Controversy?
After his secrets were exposed, it is clear that most of Fulmer’s public affection for his wife, even if it was genuine, was also largely performative. Instead of promoting his wife as an individual or even a positive approach to romance and marriages, he decided to take the “wife guy” persona and run with it.
The commodification and celebration of a gesture that should be considered the bare minimum in any relationship convinced audiences that Fulmer was committing to a role grander than himself. The insistent need to prove oneself as a loyal partner can easily be interpreted as a compensation for a more sinister way of life, and Ned Fulmer proves that theory right. He glorified an aspect of his life that is a regular part of any married man’s life, and turned it into the bulk of his personality as a member of the Try Guys.
Even to this day, it appears that society is currently unprepared to deal with the different ways an affair can occur. The ambush provided by Fulmer’s unfaithful behavior is a prime example of that.
There have been plenty of glamorous depictions of relationships as the ultimate factor of one’s success, and it will likely remain that way for generations to come. That does not mean we should not attempt to internalize the idea that some parts of life are just that, parts of life, and they should not be put on a pedestal in a one-dimensional, marketable way.