This story contains discussion of grooming and racism.
Earlier this year, allegations surfaced against Colleen Ballinger, aka Miranda Sings, that the YouTube personality had engaged in inappropriate conduct with younger fans earlier in her career — with one fan alleging that she "groomed" him.
Adam McIntyre claimed that Colleen sent him a pair of her panties and a bra when he was just 13 years old — an allegation that she confirmed in 2020 with a video titled "addressing everything," in which she referred to her actions as "completely stupid."
Adam also alleged that Colleen brought up sex several times in a group chat called "weenies" with other fans when he was a teenager, by asking him if he was a virgin and what his "favorite position" was.
Another fan, Brey, told the Huffington Post that Miranda would "trauma dump" on him and other young fans on the "weenies" chat after her divorce from YouTuber Joshua Evans in 2016 — and that they were essentially enlisted to defend her online in the wake of their split.
The immediate fallout was swift, and things only got worse from there. Colleen responded to the initial wave of allegations with a 10-minute YouTube video that featured her singing free-associatively while playing the ukulele, addressing the allegations and effectively criticizing the wave of backlash against her.
The video was roundly mocked and became something of an instant meme — and this was before April Korto Quioh, who worked as a writers’ assistant, a showrunner’s assistant, and a writers’ PA on Colleen's short-lived Netflix show Haters Back Off!, detailed allegations of racist behavior and disturbing content that Colleen allegedly wanted to work into the show.
April, who is Black, alleged that Colleen "had a knack for making ‘funny,’ biting comments about the people around her, and since we all had her to thank for our jobs, we were forced to just go with it. She saw no issue with commenting on my hair, or my clothes, or asking about my personal life. Her lack of boundaries was remarkable.”
April also said that Colleen allegedly asked writers to work in storylines in which Miranda and her uncle Jim would "be caught in compromising positions or stomach-churning moments of intimacy that could always be easily explained away by a clueless Miranda."
Since all of this emerged, Colleen canceled tour dates and essentially went radio silent — that is, until this weekend, when she returned with a new YouTube video called "fall vlog" in which she addresses the allegations, as well as the infamous ukulele video.
“Obviously, the last video that I posted on here… It’s really embarrassing, to say the least," she said after apologizing for being "gone so long."
"I was being accused of some pretty awful things, and I was just mad, and I should have handled that situation with maturity and empathy," she said. "But instead, I just let my ego take over, and I’m really disappointed in myself.”
Colleen went on to say that there were "moments" where her comedy was "immature and inappropriate" during her "15-year career."
"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," she added. "I am so sorry.”
“I never wanted to hurt anybody, but it’s clear that I did, and I feel like there’s probably people who are disappointed or feel abandoned by me because of my silence over the last few months."
Colleen went on to explain her silence following the allegations, claiming that she "needed to take time to make sure I was listening and learning as much as possible" and "also needed to get the help that I needed to be ok.”
“The majority of the last few months has just been spent in therapy," she later added. “I’m back, and I’m here now. I am not a perfect person, and there are plenty of things in my past that I wish I could go back and redo and fix and change."
“I don’t have control over the things people say about me. I only have control over my actions moving forward, and so I’m going to do everything that I can to make sure that I create a positive, kind, inclusive, safe space online with my content. If you want to be a 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," Colleen also said. "I don’t expect to change anyone’s mind with this video."
"I just wanted to come on here and say that I’m sorry, and I wanted to try and show people that it’s possible for someone to grow and learn and be better after making mistakes many, many years ago.”
You can watch the entire video here.
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673), which routes the caller to their nearest sexual assault service provider. You can also search for your local center here.
If you are concerned that a child is experiencing or may be in danger of abuse, you can call or text the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4453 (4.A.CHILD); service can be provided in over 140 languages.