Jojo Siwa discusses her relationship with Colleen Ballinger after grooming allegations

Jojo Siwa has given an update on her relationship with Colleen Ballinger following allegations of grooming made against the YouTube star.

On 13 September, the dancer appeared on the Howie Mandel Does Stuff podcast, where host Howie Mandel asked Siwa she was still friends with Ballinger. In June, the YouTuber - known for her popular sketch character Miranda Sings - was accused by former fans of grooming. Ballinger later denied allegations of inappropriate behaviour with a musical video, in which she plays ukulele.

“Yeah,” Siwa told Mandel. “I’ve known Colleen since I was 12. She’s always been nothing but kind to me… The internet can take a lie and run so far with it that it’s to the point where you just can’t do anything about it.”

She explained that due to the amount of time they’ve spent together as YouTubers, she’s come to know Ballinger “very, very well.” Siwa also acknowledged the number of years Ballinger has been active on the internet, saying: “I think the work that Colleen has done for the internet is incredible.”

“Miranda Sings, her character, is a comedian, and I think that it’s very hard to be a character where people are also looking at you as you’re a real human behind that character,” she added. “Being a comedian is very hard because you were able to do things years ago that were OK, and now that we’ve grown and matured we’ve realised they’re not OK.”

The 20-year-old defended her close friend when she said: “The problem is the internet was able to capitalise off her cancellation. And it’s not OK and a lot of it is based off of lies.”

Public allegations against Ballinger, 36, date back to April 2020 when 22-year-old Adam McIntyre released a video in which he claimed Ballinger developed an imbalanced, unhealthy friendship with him when he was 13. Then in June, several former members of the Miranda Sings fan club spoke to HuffPostUK, alleging that Ballinger had “groomed” them.

In a video posted to her Colleen Vlogs YouTube channel, Ballinger called the allegations “lies” and “toxic gossip” all while playing the ukulele. “Some people are saying things about me that just aren’t true. Even though my team has strongly advised me not to say what I’m going to say, I realised they never said I couldn’t sing about what I want to say,” she said in the video. “Some people are saying things about me that just aren’t true.”

In a tweet addressing the video, McIntyre wrote: “As much as Colleen discredited and made fun of me, I’m glad her video did ONE thing, show you all EXACTLY the type of evil woman she is, that a lot of us have experienced over the past few years behind the scenes, the mask has slipped… everyone meet the REAL Colleen Ballinger.”

Ballinger previously admitted to sending McIntyre a bra and underpants in a 2020 apology video. “I don’t know what part of my brain was missing at the time,” she said. “But I am not a monster, I am not a groomer, and I shouldn’t kill myself.”

Since the ukulele video was released, Ballinger has gone silent on all social media platforms.

You can find everything we know about the grooming allegations against Ballinger here.

The Independent has contacted representatives for Siwa for comment.