Bye, Colleen

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A ukulele on a blue background overlaid with hand-drawn black music notes and dollar bills.
Colleen’s representatives are claiming her non-apology was published for purchase without her knowledge or permission. Clker-Free-Vector-images via Pixabay and PaliGraficas via Pixabay, manipulated by Lee Lim

Miranda Sings a tone-deaf ‘apology,’ pitching years of abuse as an oops 

In the last few weeks have you seen someone online making a fake apology with a guitar or ukelele and wondered, “What was that all about?” If you have, this is the place for you. Those videos are referencing the recent scandal surrounding a YouTuber named Colleen Ballinger, better known as Miranda Sings. 

Miranda Sings was big enough to have her own Netflix show ‘Haters Back Off’ that lasted two seasons, a Netflix comedy special, and an episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Miranda was a character with an obnoxious voice, red lipstick smeared over her face, and a massive ego. The content Ballinger made as Miranda was aimed toward children. These videos for children often referenced an ‘uncle’ that was an allegory to child sexual abuse. 

The first known person to call out Ballinger on inappropriate activities was Adam McIntyre in April 2020. McIntyre uploaded a video to his channel entitled “colleen ballinger, [sic] stop lying.” There were two main points McIntyre addressed in his video. The first was that Ballinger sent McIntyre lingerie when he was 13. The lingerie was featured in a haul live stream and was worn by Ballinger’s friend Kory DeSoto over his clothes. In the video, McIntyre showed the lingerie and clips from the haul livestream.  

The second was how McIntyre was creating content for the Miranda Sings Twitter account that Ballinger was posting. Eventually, Ballinger gave McIntyre the log-in information to the Twitter account and one of the posts he made was a ‘coming out’ post about Miranda coming out as a Megan Trainor fan. This led to accusations that Ballinger was queer-baiting. McIntyre logged out of the account and apologized to Ballinger. Information has since been revealed that Ballinger had approved the ‘coming out’ post. 

In response, Ballinger uploaded a video entitled “addressing everything.” Among other things, she addressed McIntyre’s allegation that she sent him lingerie. Ballinger admitted that she sent the lingerie, but claimed that McIntyre asked for it. Ballinger showed edited clips from the livestream to make her claim true, while the entire livestream was still available on her channel that showed McIntyre was telling the truth. 

For the next three years, McIntyre was labelled a liar. Ballinger’s fandom hated him. He was attacked by the fandom. 

The reason why? Ballinger herself. 

Three years later, on June 3, 2023, someone named Kodee Tyler uploaded a video called “Why I Left the Colleen Ballinger Fandom.” Tyler stated and showed screenshots of Ballinger attempting to discredit McIntyre’s claims and seeking information to paint McIntyre in a bad light. 

The next new person to speak up was Johnny Silvestri in a video called “There’s More to the Story (my experience with Colleen Ballinger).” Silvestri worked during one of Ballinger’s tours and was emotionally abused by DeSoto during the entire tour. DeSoto would purposely sabotage Silvestri in an attempt to make Ballinger upset with him. As more commentary and drama YouTubers began to make videos on McIntyre’s side, more victims began to speak out. 

One of these was a young girl named Becky. Becky was brought on stage during a Miranda show for a yoga challenge. Becky was wearing a romper when she was brought on stage, and Ballinger spread her legs for the entire audience. Becky has stated that she was incredibly uncomfortable and that she remembers the moment Ballinger brought her on stage, and her eyes widened when she realized how few clothes Becky was wearing. Becky was a minor at the time. Silvestri worked this tour and claims that those working on the tour were very upset with Ballinger’s actions, including Ballinger’s husband Erik Stocklin. 

On June 10, 2023, Ballinger performed a live show, despite not saying anything during the last week. At this live show, Ballinger sold merchandise with the word ‘Canceled’ printed on it. 

During this time, and following that live show, more and more screenshots and receipts surfaced of Ballinger being inappropriate with children in group chats. Colleen asked McIntyre if he was a virgin when he was 13. When he was 14, Ballinger talked about sex toys in a group chat full of mostly minors aged 13-17. She sent a video to the same group chat of her putting a tampon in her mouth and asked them to do the same. When McIntyre was 14/15, Ballinger asked him for photos of his “ass” in the group chat. She also asked the group of minors for detailed information about their first time menstruating. She asked the group chat how she should approach the man she was interested in for sexual encounters. 

She isn’t the only one in her family who was inappropriate to minors. 

A former fan named Oliver (they/he) has shared screenshots of his relationship with Colleen’s brother Trent. T Ballinger asked Oliver not to share their conversations and told them he wasn’t allowed to speak to minors. Oliver, at the time, was 13. T Ballinger would repeatedly send pictures of Oliver back to themself. He would get upset when Oliver went to sleep because he couldn’t text while asleep. He asked Oliver if he was having sex with someone. He asked several questions about how old Oliver was and how old they would be when he could see them. T Ballinger called Oliver “pretty” and “cute” on multiple occasions. He wanted special videos of Oliver. He talked about sex with this 13-year-old. 

At the time of the scandal, before she made a statement, Colleen Ballinger was doing a podcast called “Oversharing” with Trisha Paytas. Screenshots surfaced of Ballinger sending photos of Paytas’s naked body from Paytas’s OnlyFans to her fans through DMs, including McIntyre, who was a minor. She allegedly hosted watch parties for her and her friends to watch Paytas’s adult content and make fun of her. Paytas claimed that when she learned of this, she asked Ballinger if it was true, and Ballinger denied it. 

On June 28, 2023, Ballinger uploaded a video called “hi.” where she responded to the controversy surrounding her with a 10-minute ukulele song that has now been dubbed “Toxic Gossip Train.” She did not apologize in this video. She claimed that she hadn’t been seen recently, but she was seen at her two live shows. She claimed that she hadn’t talked to her fans in group chats in years, but she only left a group chat with her fans on June 23, 2023. She claimed that the Miranda character was PG-13, but she was at the 2023 Kids Choice Awards, and her Netflix show is TV-PG. She claimed that the “only thing that [she] ever groomed is [her] two Persian cats,” which isn’t entirely true either. She has shaved her cats on multiple occasions, which would not be necessary if they were properly groomed. 

hi.” is now the most viewed video on her vlog channel. 

After the uploading of her video, a woman who worked on her Netflix show came out to say that Ballinger made sure that there were limited people of colour in the background of scenes and asked for all Asian items to be removed from a set that was previously an Asian market. 

Other videos have surfaced of Ballinger ‘acting’ as racist stereotypes. 

Other than those few videos, she was in her thirties through all of this. She was not young or inexperienced in the world and the internet. She was in her thirties. 

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