Colleen returns to YouTube after disappearing for a couple months
After posting her now iconic ukulele apology video titled “hi.” on June 28, 2023, Colleen disappeared into the mystery of the internet.
But, now, she’s back.
On November 18, 2023, Colleen uploaded a video called “fall vlog” which has over a million views as of November 24.
She starts by apologizing for her absence before getting a little bit deeper into what happened in regards to her cancellation (check out my article “Bye, Colleen” for the deep dive on that). She makes sure to say she was “accused” of awful things and that it made her so mad she uploaded the ukulele video. She mentions that it was a choice following her ego. But, she does acknowledge that people got hurt because she was not paying enough attention to her comedy or fan interactions.
It’s certainly not a great apology, but it’s better than ‘toxic gossip train.’
After about three minutes of apology, she gets right back into the swing of things with her vlogs. She has to mention her kids at the beginning, since they were a huge draw for her content. 90 per cent of her top 30 performing videos on her vlog channel have to do with pregnancy or the early days of postpartum.
She calls the time between her last vlogs in May the ‘halted’ time. She also mentions that she has changed a lot in the last few months.
Something that struck me as interesting is Colleen’s hair. Something she frequently did in her vlogs was make a huge deal about her hair.
She would spend weeks talking about cutting her hair or cutting her bangs. Video after video agonizing about wanting to do it, but not wanting to do it. She cut her hair and her bangs in her return.
During those months away, she continued to vlog. She states that it was at the recommendation of her therapist. Something that a lot of people online talked about when she was away is that they were grateful her three kids got to spend some time in their lives without a vlog camera shoved in their faces, though there is now doubt on this gratitude. This is alleged, as there is no proof or mention by Colleen that she continued to vlog her kids.
This first vlog was more Colleen than anything else. Her husband, Eric, is featured in a two-second clip and her kids are not in the vlog at all.
She uploaded another vlog after the ‘halt’ the very next day on November 19. She starts the video with an updated intro voice-over, “I’m vlogging, it’s boring, I’m Colleen,” featuring the voice of her now-five-year-old son.
The vlog, titled “What I’ve been up to” has a significant drop in views compared to “fall vlog,” going from 1.1 million to 360,000 in just one day.
In that video, she compares her life during the ‘halt’ through a clip from a recorded during the hiatus vlog to feeling like “fly-infested, rotting seaweed.” This video has the first mention of her new obsession: rocks.
Yes, the entire video is her talking about and doing crafts with rocks. Scrolling through the comments on the video, I was unable to find anything that mentioned the controversy, the apology, or anything in that regard. Most of the comments were either excited she was back or excited about rocks.
The next video from November 20 is called “Watching old footage & Making Ornaments.” The views drop another 100,000 from the previous vlog.
By vlog three, it’s clear that the way she’s vlogging is different. Whereas before the controversy came to light, her vlogs were every moment of every day, featuring her kids and her husband. These vlogs are just her, when she has a minute during the day to comment on something or just talk. Her kids do feature in this vlog, but it is very minimal and at the end.
She says that she felt a part of her was missing when she wasn’t vlogging. When she shows a clip of one of the first vlogs she filmed during the hiatus, she states in the clip that she felt like herself again while vlogging.
It’s also in this video that it’s confirmed her former best friend, Kory DeSoto, no longer edits her vlogs. DeSoto edited Ballinger’s vlogs for years. Many on the internet have claimed that DeSoto has moved out of Ballinger’s house where he lived for several years and worked as her assistant.
Looking at DeSoto’s Instagram, it states that he was in a musical performed in Provincetown, Massachusetts. He also posted a photo of himself and another person at a bar in Provincetown for Halloween, further giving cause to believe he no longer lives in California with Ballinger.
On November 23, she posted a video called “My Unexpected Birthday Surprise!” where she reveals something truly unexpected: she’s bringing back her birthday fundraiser. Every year for her birthday, Ballinger raises money for a charity working on fighting childhood cancer. But, there is little proof that she actually donates all of the money.
People online spent months digging before the big controversy asking for receipts that she donated said money. It reached its peak earlier this year in January of 2023 when DeSoto, who was mentioned earlier, told people asking for proof to “Call the family! Call the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles! Call the families that watched their child die!” No proof was ever given that the money actually gets donated.
Four of her earlier fundraiser pages are still open and can be donated to (with the exception of 2019 which was deleted a few weeks ago). The interesting part about the lack of proof is the website she uses. Ballinger uses Fundly for all her fundraisers, a website that sends the money straight into the organizer’s bank account, not the charity.
That being said, no, Ballinger does not take all the donation money for herself. She is a large donor for the Children’s Hospital of L.A. During her 2022 fundraiser, she doesn’t even state what charity she’s donating to.
Ballinger has confirmed in vlogs that she doesn’t donate the money in December, when the big fundraiser is, or in January, the month following. They wait to see if there’s a little extra money. One charity she donated to confirmed the amount they received from 2016 to 2021 which was $395,585.76.
Those of the ColleenBallingerSnark subreddit have found that by doing the math, there is $4,549.34 missing from that total.
The rest of the new vlogs aren’t super special, nor am I expecting any upcoming vlogs to be. She’s also still body checking over on her Instagram.
Long story short, she’s back to doing what she was always doing. It just so happens to be during the best time of year for YouTubers to make money.