Who is Colleen Ballinger? Drama Of Return To YouTube, Explained | #childpredator | #onlinepredator | #sextrafficing

Colleen Ballinger is back on YouTube. 

The singer and comedian, known for her YouTube character, Miranda Sings, uploaded a new video addressing the backlash she faced after posting an earlier viral apology video in June.

Ballinger, who turns 37 on Nov. 21, had stayed off social media in the wake of her June video, in which she addressed allegations that she had interacted inappropriately with some of her younger fans. 

Viewers called Ballinger’s June apology, which she delivered while strumming a ukulele, “insulting” and “insensitive.”

“Obviously, the last video that I posted on here is really embarrassing, to say the least,” Ballinger said in her recent video addressing the backlash. “I was being accused of some pretty awful things and I just was mad and I should have handled that situation with maturity and empathy, but instead I just let my ego take over and I’m really disappointed in myself.”

Here’s what to know about Colleen Ballinger and the controversy surrounding her recent videos. TODAY.com has reached out to Ballinger for comment.

Who is Colleen Ballinger?

Ballinger is an actor, comedian, singer and YouTube star, best known for her comedic alter ego, Miranda Sings.

Miranda Sings, a fictional character Ballinger created in 2008, is a talentless yet supremely confident aspiring singer who shares singing tutorials, product reviews, and commentary on her daily life on YouTube, all while sporting her signature, smeared red lipstick.

Ballinger says she believes fans love Miranda Sings for her “confidence.”

“I really do think that,” she told TODAY’s Sheinelle Jones in 2016. “It’s kind of inspiring to see a girl who doesn’t care about what she looks like, has no filter, doesn’t care about what people say about her or  to her. She still pursues her dreams and just loves herself.”

Ballinger has amassed more than 10 million followers on her Miranda Sings YouTube page, as well as 12 million followers across her two personal YouTube accounts. 

Her Miranda Sings character inspired a Netflix show, “Haters Back Off,” which ran for two seasons from 2016 to 2017. Her live, one-woman comedy show was also made into a Netflix special in 2019.

Ballinger married fellow YouTube star Joshua Evans, and they announced their split in 2016 in separate YouTube videos.

“This has nothing to do with, ‘he’s a bad person’ or ‘he did something horrible to me,’ or anything like that. He’s a good person and I love him,” Ballinger said in her video. “We have always had a very rocky relationship since the beginning. We’ve always butted heads. We’ve always fought, ever since we met really. It’s never been a perfect relationship.”

Ballinger married actor Erik Stocklin in 2018, and they share three children: Flynn Timothy, who turns 3 on Dec. 10, and 2-year-old twins Maisy Jo and Wesley. 

She and Stocklin previously co-hosted a podcast, “Relax! With Colleen Ballinger and Erik Stocklin.”

What is Colleen Ballinger accused of?

Colleen Ballinger has been accused of engaging in inappropriate interactions with minors.

In 2020, YouTube creator Adam McIntyre posted a video accusing Ballinger of starting an inappropriate relationship with him when he was as young as 13.

McIntyre, who was 17 when he shared this video, said Ballinger had previously sent him underwear as a joke, and shared “private details” with him about her divorce and beyond.

In another YouTube video posted earlier this year, McIntyre summarizes it as following: “From the ages of 14 to 17 I helped this woman through so much, whether she’ll want to admit that or not — talked her through her divorce, talked her through YouTube cancellations.” He said he “thought” he had “formed a friendship” with her.

Ballinger responded to McIntyre’s accusations in a May 2020 YouTube video. She specifically addressed his claim that she had sent him underwear, saying that while this did happen, the situation was taken out of context. 

“I’ve always given out weird, random things in livestreams,” Ballinger said. “And so in my mind at the time, this was no different than all the weird stuff I send to my fans as a joke. Now, in hindsight, I see how completely stupid of me — I should never have sent that.”

“I should have realized and recognized how dumb that was, and never sent it to him no matter how much he asked,” she also said. “But it was never a sneaky, creepy, gross thing I was doing in secret. It was a silly, stupid mistake that now is being blown way out of proportion.”

Ballinger has also been accused of interacting inappropriately onstage with a 16-year-old fan during a 2018 show in Philadelphia.

The fan, identified as Becky in an interview with HuffPost earlier this year, claims Ballinger invited her onstage during the show to participate in a yoga challenge. Ballinger allegedly asked  to stretch her legs open as part of a joke, which the fan felt uncomfortable with.

“At this point, I was like, uh oh, this is inappropriate, I’m not dressed for this,” the fan told HuffPost. “But I looked up to her so much and I just trusted her so much that I did it. I laid down and she just spread my legs wide open for everybody to see.”

Ballinger did not respond to HuffPost’s requests for comment.

A Rolling Stone feature also unpacked the controversy, featuring interviews from fans.

What did Ballinger say in her ukulele apology video?

As claims that she had behaved inappropriately with minors continued to make the rounds online, Ballinger addressed the allegations in a 10-minute YouTube video in June 2023.

Ballinger strummed a ukulele throughout the video and sang parts of her message.

“Some people are saying things about me that just aren’t true,” she said near the beginning of the video. She continued, “Even though my team has strongly advised me not to say what I’m going to say, I realized they never said I couldn’t sing about what I want to say.”

“A lot of people are saying some things about me that aren’t quite true. Doesn’t matter if it’s true, though, just as long as it’s entertaining to you, right?” Ballinger also sang in the video, which was shared to her Colleen Vlogs YouTube channel. “You guys having fun? All aboard the toxic gossip train, chugging down the tracks of misinformation. The toxic gossip train.”

“I used to message my fans, but not in a creepy way, like a lot of you are trying to suggest,” she said in another part of the video. “It was more of a loser kind of way. I was just trying to be besties with everybody.”

She also later sang the lyrics, “The only thing I’ve ever groomed is my two Persian cats / I’m not a groomer, just a loser / who didn’t understand I shouldn’t respond to fans / and I’m not a predator even a lot of you think so / because five years ago I made a fart joke.” 

The video was met with widespread backlash, with some people accusing Ballinger of making light of a serious situation.

In the wake of her viral ukulele apology video, several of Ballinger’s upcoming live shows on her national tour were canceled. Ballinger’s podcast with fellow YouTuber Trisha Paytas, “Oversharing,” also ended after three episodes.

After posting the ukulele apology video, Ballinger went dark on YouTube, and stopped adding new videos to her two personal channel, and the Miranda Sings channel.

Months later, Colleen Ballinger apologized for the apology video

On Nov. 18, 2023, Ballinger posted her first new video to her Colleen Vlogs channel in nearly five months. 

In the video, called “fall vlog,” Ballinger said she now views her viral ukulele apology video as “really embarrassing, to say the least.”

“I was being accused of some pretty awful things and I just was mad and I should have handled that situation with maturity and empathy, but instead I just let my ego take over and I’m really disappointed in myself,” she said.

She also said that over the past 15 years of her career, there “have been moments where I was immature and inappropriate with some of my comedy.”

“And there were times when I did not put enough thought into some of my fan interactions, and because of that behavior, people got hurt, and I am so sorry,” she added. “I never wanted to hurt anybody but it’s clear that I did, and I feel so terrible about that.”

Ballinger said she had taken time away from YouTube to “make sure I was listening and learning as much as possible.”

“I’m not a perfect person and there are plenty of things in my past I wish I could go back and redo and fix and change,” she continued. “I’m going to do everything that I can to make sure that I create a positive, kind and inclusive safe space online with my content, and if you want to be part of my journey online, I would love to have you, and if not, I completely understand. 

“I do not expect anyone to welcome me back with open arms and I don’t expect to change anyone’s mind with this video,” she added. “I just wanted to come on here and say that I’m sorry.”

Responses to her latest apology video were mixed online.

McIntyre, the YouTuber who previously accused Ballinger of inappropriate behavior, shared his response to Ballinger’s latest video in his own YouTube video, entitled, “Colleen Ballinger Hasn’t Changed.”

He called her November 2023 video a “slap in the face” and “performative,” and accused Ballinger of “diminishing everything as much as possible.”

Others shared their support for Ballinger in the comments section of the video, with one fan writing that they were “so excited” to see her on YouTube again, and another saying they had “really missed” her videos. 

Another person commented that they felt “really torn” by Ballinger’s recent video.

“Used to be a huge fan, was pretty upset to see all the things that came out about you. I’m happy to know that you are doing well,” the person wrote. “I feel like apology was sincere but i want to see accountability, and whether it is public or private apologies to those involved. I hope this is a new start on a healthier path.”

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