Opinion | Ned Fulmer scandal shows that men can hold each other accountable

(Photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Gage Skidmore / Flickr)

Caroline Bryant, Southern Editor
Nov. 7, 2022

On Sept. 27, I was confused as to why my Instagram feed was overflowing with pictures of that ginger guy from Modern Family. Turns out I was wrong: the man was in fact Ned Fulmer from Buzzfeed’s The Try Guys. 

The Try Guys, made by Eugene Lee Yang, Keith Habersberger, Zach Kornfeld– and formerly Ned Fulmer, is a YouTube series following the four men trying everything from ordering everything off the menu at Pizza Hut, to hang gliding for the first time. Around 80 percent of their 8.01 million subscribers are young women.

Though I am a woman and have never seen a Try Guys video in my life, I’m not surprised Fulmer cheated.

Why? Because like celebrity deaths, scandals happen in threes. After the John Mulaney and Adam Levine scandal came to light, another man was bound to be next.

These men hold one thing in common: their personalities rely on their wives. For years, Mulaney’s comedy shows revolved around adoring his wife, Anne Marie Tendler. Yet within a span of a few months, Mulaney went to rehab in September 2020, left in October, moved out in October, was accused of cheating on Tendler all winter, then announced he was dating Olivia Munn and having a baby with her in the spring of 2021. A fan can only keep up with so much.

Levine’s wife, Behati Prinsloo– who’s pregnant with his baby– is a literal Victoria’s Secret model. According to US Weekly, Levine told Ryan Seacrest on KIIS FM that he “want[s] to have 100 kids” with her. He does with four others on Instagram, too.

Fulmer is known as the husband of Ariel Fulmer, not Ned. There is a 1:29 minute video compilation of Fulmer saying “my wife” on YouTube. There’s a video titled “Which Try Guy Knows Ned The Best?” alongside a cover picture that says “Ned Before Marriage?!?!” They even wrote a cookbook titled The Date Night Cookbook disclosing their favorite recipes alongside secret date stories.

So, when news broke about him cheating, the internet went crazy. There are 499.6 million videos on Tik Tok under #NedFulmer. Even Yale, the school Fulmer graduated from, released a public statement on Instagram opposing his actions. Yale rarely intervenes in drama.

It is not likely for Fulmer to bounce back. Unlike the other two, Fulmer’s situation digs deeper than the usual celebrity scandal. Fulmer’s actions reflect an abuse of power from a boss toward an employee.

While Fulmer explains his relationship with the employee was “consensual,” Rose Keith, a lawyer for Harper Gray LLP, states this as impossible.

“When one individual has power over another in the workplace, the ability to truly consent is compromised,” Keith said on the Harper Gray website. “A subordinate may ‘consent’ to engage in sexual conduct out of fear of reprisal or fear for job security.  Where there is a power imbalance and sexual activity between employees, an employer is exposed to liability for sexual harassment.”

Adding status to the mix, a Front Psychol study found that famous men are less likely to receive judgment or consequences for rape or sexual harassment allegations. For example, Bill Cosby’s career thrived despite his first allegation in 2005 from 1965.

Combining the power imbalance and status, Fulmer’s odds were statistically set for him. Yang, Habersberger and Kornfeld, however, crushed these odds.

Two weeks after the scandal, the Try Guys released a video confirming Fulmer’s termination from the show. They emphasized their disappointment in him as his actions interfered with the brand they built.

Even without his removal, they would’ve received less viewership. Growing up in a world where men rule, the younger generation of women try to hand them the repercussions they deserve. Take Shane Dawson, Chris Brown and Rex Orange County, for instance. Female fans have boycotted Rex Orange County’s music ever since he was charged with six counts of sexual assault.

Fans are proud of the company’s extreme efforts against Fulmer. They’re proud because it’s unheard of from men. But, it shouldn’t be shocking that a man is receiving consequences for his actions from a man. For a male-dominated world, it should be the standard.

It’s about time the women take a break.


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