Accountability is not humorous
Updated: Oct 15, 2022
By McKenzie Ward
The Try Guys, a group of YouTubers, released a statement on Sept. 27 stating that one of the four members, Ned Fulmer, known as the “Wife Guy” would no longer be working with them after eight years.
Ned then published a statement admitting to an affair and described it as a “consensual workplace relationship.” He apologized for the pain his actions caused to the other Try Guys and to his family, as he is married and has children.
The affair was with Alexandria Herring, the associate producer for The Try Guys.
As a result of the affair, the other three members of The Try Guys, Eugene Lee Yang, Keith Habersberger, and Zach Kornfield, hired an HR professional to conduct a thorough review of the facts, and it was found that Ned had indeed engaged in inappropriate workplace conduct.
Keith, Zach, and Eugene then gave written consent approving the removal of Ned as a manager and employee.
The Try Guys published a YouTube video on Oct. 3 titled, “what happened” further explaining the situation.
In the video, the members said they are saddened by Ned's actions and despite this situation, they hope that positive growth will occur and that the company will overcome this.
In the video, Eugene reminded viewers that the Internet tends “to be a lot harsher to women than men. So please, we ask that you exercise kindness.”
While Ned claims the relationship between him and Herring was a “consensual workplace relationship,” there was still a power imbalance as Ned was Herring’s boss and had power over her as her employer.
This arguably makes the relationship extremely problematic and could have resulted in legal issues for The Try Guys.
Keith, Zach, and Eugene did the right thing by holding Ned accountable for his selfish actions.
It was truly a great example of how men should be holding other men accountable for unacceptable behavior, such as inappropriate workplace relationships or just cheating in general.
However, not everyone saw The Try Guys’ reaction the way that I did.
On Oct. 9 Saturday Night Live (SNL) produced a skit essentially mocking the reaction of The Try Guys.
The skit had Ego Nwodim playing a CNN broadcaster and host Brendan Gleeson, a correspondent. Gleeson’s character interrupts Nwodim with breaking news about Ned’s affair and announces that Keith, Eugene, and Zach are live to talk about it.
During the skit, SNL made numerous jokes about the professional relationship between Ned and Herring and downplayed the severity of the affair.
Nwodim asked if the affair was non-consensual and Mikey Day, who was playing Zach, responded with, “No, worse. He committed the heinous crime of having a consensual kiss, and not telling us, his friends.”
However, this wasn’t just a consensual kiss. This was a full-blown, long-term extramarital affair between a founder of a company and one of his employees.
If anything had gone wrong in this relationship, it could have opened the company to a sexual harrassment lawsuit.
The decision to remove Ned has cost The Try Guys a lot of money, according to their “what happened” video. If these actions were not taken, it could have caused much worse damage.
Not only was this wrong for a founder of a company to have a sexual relationship with a subordinate, but this man cheated on his wife and put the livelihoods of the other Try Guys and their employees in jeopardy.
So to SNL, not only was your skit tasteless, but it also sent the message to men that if they decide to speak out when other men abuse their power, they’re overreacting and instead they should stay silent.
To Zach, Keith, and Eugene, thank you for taking action rather than staying silent.
This skit says more about the workplace culture of SNL than it does The Try Guys.
SNL, do better.