Anatomy of a scandal: Bad PR and Ned Fulmer's shitty statement
You could absolutely be forgiven for not knowing anything at all about Ned Fulmer and The Try Guys. As the mother of two Gen-Z daughters, I have known about them for years and have watched many of their videos, so finding out that Ned, The Wife Guy, cheated on his incredibly sweet-seeming wife, was an absolute shock.
It was right up there with Kenneth Branagh cheating on Emma Thompson with Helena Bonham Carter for the moody Gen-Xers or Brad cheating on Jen with Angelina for the sunny Gen-Xers or John Mulaney cheating on Anna for the Millennials. Unthinkable, love-is-dead levels of shock.
I'm not here to talk about the scandal, though, or shitty men who make their fame and their living pretending to be all about family and then making that their whole personality because they don't actually have one. I'm here to talk about that absolutely terrible Instagram post where he released his statement.
The writing was not even PR 101. And ladies and gentlemen, he had time to craft a better statement. Know how I know? Because I am the mother of two Gen-Z daughters. I buy Try Guys merch for Christmas. I am on the mailing list. I got a 50 percent off email last week and thought, huh, that's weird.
HE KNEW THIS WAS ABOUT TO COME OUT! AND THIS IS THE STATEMENT HE DROPPED!
First of all, "I lost focus," as if his penis wandered away if he didn't keep a strict eye on it at all times. As if he needed to pay close attention or he would be hurled into the nearest vagina, which apparently was pretty close to the truth.
Secondly, "a consensual workplace relationship". Now, that is interesting considering that Alexandra Herring, the woman with whom he seems to have had the relationship, is much younger than he is and junior to him. He is an owner of the company. The power imbalance alone calls into question the consensual nature of the relationship.
I've talked about this wording with a number of folks and I think that what he's driving at here is that The Try Guys do a lot of drinking and partying in their videos. I think he's trying to head off any assertions that one or both of them were impaired during their consensual hookups.
Next, the part that I find most egregious: "I'm sorry for any pain that my actions may have caused...." There are two words there that make me see red: Any and May. Both of those words are indeterminate, suggesting that there might be some pain or there might not. His actions may have caused pain, or they might not. It's so cowardly.
Here's how you would write that section if you wanted to take responsibility:
I'm sorry for the pain that my actions have caused to the guys and the fans but most of all to Ariel.
Want to improve it more?
I'm sorry for the pain that my actions have caused to Ariel.
Because the reality is, Wife Guy, if the only thing that matters or has ever mattered is the family, the only thing that matters at this point is Ariel and those kids. The merch drop last week and the clear statement from The Try Guys tells you that there is no reason to bring them or the fans into it. Wanna know how I know? Look at their statement.
No ambiguity there. I guess they could afford a PR person. Or maybe they meant what they said in their statement.
So what can you learn from Ned Fulmer's embarrassing, stupid IG post?
I thought we had all learned this by now, but apparently not Ned. When you get caught, your apology had better be swift, sincere, and straightforward. No hedging and no stupid attempts to half-ass it. Everybody can see your spin coming from a mile away. The only hope is to say it loud and say it plain.
Okay, now you can go back to not thinking about The Try Guys again. Unfortunately, I can't.