Do you remember the internet sensation Miranda Sings? Colleen Ballinger, who created the Miranda Sings character, was one of the first social media stars of her era. Ballinger’s an actress turned YouTube sensation and content creator who launched into mainstream success after her videos reached the masses, gaining the attention of millions. In 2008, Ballinger created her “Miranda Sings” alter ego with an unusual singing style and a flair for lack of awareness.
Fans worldwide fell in love with the quirky internet persona, with 22 million people subscribing to her YouTube channels. Ballinger’s internet success turned into her giving live performances worldwide, attending major A-list events, and even landing her own Netflix show, Haters Back Off, which ran for two seasons from 2016 to 2017.
Although Ballinger has had a lot of success in her career, it’s not gone without controversy. Ballinger took a long break from her YouTube channels and social media for five months beginning in June 2023, and some might be wondering what she was up to.
In 2020, fellow YouTuber Adam McIntyre claimed Ballinger formed an inappropriate friendship with him when he was as young as 13 years old. McIntyre alleged that he received lingerie from Ballinger in the mail as a joke, and that Ballinger opened up to him about her marriage and 2016 divorce from her first husband, Joshua David Evans. McIntyre recalled his relationship with Ballinger in a YouTube video at the time, causing fans to reevaluate their parasocial relationship with the YouTube star.
Following McIntyre’s allegations, Ballinger responded with a video titled “addressing everything” in May 2020. In the video, Ballinger admitted fault in her relationship with McIntyre and also took ownership for sending him lingerie in the mail. “I don’t know what part of my brain was missing at the time that I thought, ‘Oh, this is a normal, silly thing to do,’” she said in the video.
Fast forward to 2023, and more news broke of Ballinger’s reported inappropriate relationships with her fans. In June, YouTuber Kodeerants shared a now-deleted video that mentioned an alleged inappropriate text exchange between Ballinger and underage fans. The group text, called “Colleeny’s Weenies,” was where Ballinger allegedly sent sexually suggestive messages to her fans. McIntrye confirmed the group’s existence in a YouTube video posted in June 2023. He also shared a tweet in June 2023, in which he mentioned how uncomfortable he was being part of the group.
In June 2023, Ballinger made a video addressing the allegations while playing the ukulele. She sang about the “toxic gossip train” and how some of the allegations against her were lies. “Thought you wanted me to take accountability but that’s not the point of your mob mentality, is it? No. Your goal is to ruin the life of the person you despise while you dramatize your lies and monetize their demise,” she sang in the video.
As part of backlash for her alleged inappropriate relationships with her fans, Ballinger faced the ultimate downfall — namely, her live shows being canceled and her podcast with Trish Paytas being shut down after three episodes. After the ukelele video and aforementioned cancellations, nothing was posted to Ballinger or Miranda Sings’ social media pages for months.
However, that all changed on Nov. 18, when Ballinger posted a video titled “fall vlog” on her Colleen Vlogs YouTube channel. Ballinger began the video by acknowledging that her ukulele apology four months prior was “embarrassing” and expressed regret for not handling the situation better. “Obviously, the last video that I posted on here is really embarrassing, to say the least. I was being accused of some pretty awful things and I just was mad,” Ballinger said. “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 also further responded to the allegations against her. “Over the last 15 years of my career, there have been moments where I was immature and inappropriate with some of my comedy,” Ballinger said. “And there were times when I did not put enough thought into my fan interactions. And because of that behavior, people got hurt, and I am so sorry. I never wanted to hurt anybody, but it’s clear that I did and I feel so terrible about that.”
Though she’s been taking a break from the internet, Ballinger said she plans to continue vlogging on her YouTube channel and even posted a second video titled “What I’ve been up to.”
“I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that I create a positive, kind, inclusive, safe space online with my content,” Ballinger added. “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, 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 to show people that it’s possible for someone to grow and learn and be better after making mistakes many years ago.”
It’s safe to say Ballinger is trying to move on with her life after receiving such negative attention.