ITNTW: The Try Guys Try: Crisis Management
If you were that teen in 2014 that hid in your room after school and watched YouTube videos all night long (or have been on TikTok in the last month), you’ve probably heard of The Try Guys.
The Try Guys originally started in 2014 as a one-off video idea at media group Buzzfeed, where 4 guys tried different things. The group featured Eugene Lee Yang, Ned Fulmer, Zach Kornfield, and Keith Habersberger, who all worked for Buzzfeed at the time. They were instantly loved by viewers, and soon after became a regular online segment.
Breaking away from the media group in 2018, they formed their own independent production company, which now employs over 20 people and has amassed over 1.6 billion views on their YouTube channel. Since their formation, their fun, lighthearted videos have since imprinted their legacy on the internet for almost a decade.
From podcasts to TV shows, cookbooks, and partnerships, they are highly sought out by the most innovative, creative, and best PR agencies across the globe – but what happens when a friend, colleague, and founder ultimately ruins everything for a work romance?
In late September this year, alleged photos of The Try Guys’ member, Ned Fulmer, and a producer of the company, who was not his wife, came to light which resulted in him admitting to having a consensual workplace relationship with her.
This rocked The Try Guys team and, “after 3 weeks of engaging with employment, cooperate, HR and PR lawyers to make necessary steps in how contrary to the values of the company they built and the people in it,” they made the decision to remove Ned entirely from the company.
In a response statement video, titled ‘What happened’, the team of now 3 stated, “that they never knew, and the news was shocking to them” and as this does not reflect who they are. They also stated that they will be digitally removing Ned from videos and merch press, losing money and their company values.
Ned confirmed the allegations through a short-written statement saying, “Family should have always been my priority… The only thing that matters right now is my marriage and my children”
And with that, The Try Guys became the most trending internet news which, of course, was followed by an SNL skit reenacting the statement video. Fans were quick to slam the way that the skit downplayed the power imbalance that occurred when Fulmer got with an employee and instead used the victims as a punchline. The internet was then quick to call out SNL for the ‘distasteful’ skit, claiming that they were taking the wrong approach when it came to Ned’s sexual misconduct.
Fans were also quick to discover that one of the SNL producers was good friends with Ned, which only added fire to situation. While this would be seen as a bad PR move, SNL are used to the heat!
From a professional public relations perspective, this was the best response and reaction that could have come out of the situation. Recent celebrities and influencers have been quick to jump the gun in response to any arising crisis, but this can result in further backlash. The Try Guys consulting a team of professionals before coming out with statements proves they have a strong crisis management model, and by removing the negative impact on the company, employees and all their partners, they stay true to their image.
By Mikayla Han, PR & Influencer Assistant at InsideOut PR and #AsSeenOn Influencers