by Risha Sinha, Opinions Editor
graphic by Emily Cheng
To those who have been living under a rock (or have just forgotten), Ned Fulmer, a member of the YouTube comedy group “The Try Guys”, was recently fired from the company he founded for engaging in a yearlong “consensual workplace relationship” with a subordinate. The three other Try Guys — Tri-Guys, if you will — immediately made the decision to remove him from their team.
When the news broke that Fulmer was a cheater, it went viral faster than COVID-19 at a Trump rally. Fulmer, a vanilla-scented trash bag, gained money and fame from his carefully curated public personality. He and his wife had many joint projects, such as a parenting advice podcast along with an HGTV-style video series where she redesigned rooms in their friends’ homes while Fulmer just stood there aimlessly.
Fulmer used his wife so much that she almost became a prop in his videos. He and Ariel even released a relationship-based cookbook together filled with recipes like “love at first steak” and “third date pizza” and pictures of them holding delicious food and looking disgustingly in love. My personal favorite is the “kiss and make up cake”: a chocolate treat dusted with powdered sugar and decorated with the words “I’m sorry” in gorgeous white icing. I doubt that cake is doing much damage control now.
To be clear, Ned Fulmer is not evil for his morally wrong actions. He is simply one example of a larger problem in society: public figures, especially men, make careers by lying about who they are. They claim to stand for one thing, but eventually, they are proved to be disingenuous. Worse, they profit from their deception.
Scandal garners interest, and as proven by the Try Guys’ sudden uptick in fame and subscribers, interest is lucrative. Ned Fulmer, in the bigger picture, is a docile and insignificant example of a hypocritical man in the media. In a world of social media, online clout is essential for societal relevance. Just like influencers, political candidates must become media personalities. Some candidates, especially the ones whose policy ideas are too weak to create a platform, rely solely on their eccentric personalities to get them into office. These candidates, some of whom (as a cruel prank on humanity) already hold office, are vapid and depthless people whose hunger for power allows them to stomach the awful, nasty and just plain incorrect rhetoric they spew. Herschel Walker is one such candidate.
Herschel Walker, a former NFL running back turned politician, is running for Senate in Georgia. Listening to him explain his positions on policy is possibly the strongest argument one could make for further regulations to prevent concussions in football. Walker believes in a total abortion ban — that all abortions should be illegal even in cases of incest, rape, ectopic pregnancies, and when the mother’s life is in danger.
The real kicker here is the Daily Beast report that Herschel Walker paid for his girlfriend’s abortion in 2009. Apparently, Herschel Walker believes that life begins at conception, so abortion is murder … unless it benefits him. What’s more, Walker had the audacity to deny the story although all evidence points to the contrary. His blatant lies were called out by his son, Christian Walker, in a video posted to Twitter.
But the obvious and repugnant hypocrisy doesn’t end with Walker’s stance on abortions. Walker’s official campaign website promises that if he is elected, he will “stand for conservative family values” in the Senate. He lauds himself as a Christian and a father in explaining that promise. On the contrary, in the Twitter video, Christian Walker implies that his father has cheated on the multiple women he has children with and accuses Walker of being an absentee father. It seems Herschel has struggled to understand the Seventh Commandment in Christianity: “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”
It’s no surprise that politicians are the worst hypocrites of all. Flip-flopping is a cornerstone of politics, especially now that politicians are increasingly valued on their celebrity and fear-mongering ability rather than their fact-based policy positions. With the influence of social media algorithms and the prevalence of online fundraising, voters fall into cycles of confirmation bias and the people that catch our attention (and thereby our wallets) are the big personalities. In this way, the political shock-jocks prevail over qualified, secure candidates.
After Ned Fulmer was revealed to be a two-faced liar, nearly his entire fanbase deserted him. After his abortion scandal, Herschel Walker raised $500,000 in campaign funds. This dichotomy is interesting and dangerous. When an entertainer is deceitful, his fans, his source of money and power, drop him like a hot potato. When a politician-hopeful is revealed to have directly contradicted his words with his actions, his MAGA base rallies around him.
Why is that? One of the most obvious differences between Fulmer and Walker is their fan bases. Fulmer’s fans are young and liberal. Walker’s fans are the opposite. Walker’s hypocrisy further confirms that the MAGA crowd does not truly stand by “conservative family values” or their ridiculous idea that abortion is murder. If they did, they would have dropped Walker like a hot potato. Fulmer and Walker are an emblem of our new, Trumpian era in which our politicians and entertainers switch roles. Entertainers are now required to be honest, and politicians are expected to be entertaining.