Warning: This article contains discussion of grooming, inappropriate conduct, and racist commentary.
If you’ve been on social media at all over the past couple of weeks, you’re likely aware of the growing controversy surrounding Colleen Ballinger.
For anyone who isn’t in the loop, Colleen, 36, is a YouTuber best known for her alter ego Miranda Sings. Her fanbase has always primarily consisted of young kids and teenagers, and in 2020, Colleen faced allegations of misconduct from several of these former fans.
Perhaps the most shocking allegation came from a fan named Adam McIntyre, who said he was sent a pair of underwear from Colleen when he was 13. She later wound up confirming that she had sent him underwear in a wide-ranging video titled “addressing everything,” though claimed that it was simply a “joke” and nothing “creepy.” She did, however, admit that the move was “completely stupid.”
Elsewhere during her video, Colleen apologized for several clips that had resurfaced from over a decade prior, all of which had sparked fresh backlash across social media. In one, she invoked racial stereotypes by imitating a Latinx character with her sister, Rachel Ballinger. In another, she body-shamed an overweight woman who’d been sitting next to her on a flight.
Colleen explained that as a “sheltered teenager,” she’d been extremely “ignorant” and “culturally insensitive” at the time that these clips were filmed. However, she maintained that she’d learned from her mistakes, and, for the most part, her apology was well-received.
But three years later, Colleen has found herself at the center of several controversies once again after various new claims about her alleged past behavior were made by her former fans, friends, and employees. Here’s a complete breakdown of everything that has unfolded.
June 24: The HuffPost Report
A report published by the Huffington Post highlighted several allegations made by former fans of Colleen regarding misconduct and inappropriate behavior. Adam McIntyre, now 20, told the outlet that Colleen was in a group chat called “weenies” with himself and other teenage fans. He alleged that she would ask him inappropriate questions about his sex life in this chat, and that she’d often “trauma dump” on him and the others about her divorce from YouTuber Joshua Evans, which occurred in 2016.
Not long after these allegations were made, several clips from past Miranda Sings YouTube videos and live shows began resurfacing across social media as users critiqued their alleged inappropriate nature. One of these clips in particular saw a young fan being brought onstage by Miranda for a “yoga challenge” at a live show. The fan, who was wearing a short romper with no pants, was lying on her back before having her legs spread by Miranda as part of the “challenge” while a loud fart noise played over the speakers.
June 28: Colleen Responds with a 10-Minute Ukulele Song
Colleen broke her silence on the growing controversy by releasing a 10-minute ukulele song to her YouTube page on June 28.
In the now-infamous track, Colleen admitted that she did used to “overshare” details about her personal life with her younger fans in group chats, though denied that it was ever “creepy.” Instead, she said that she was just a “loser” who wanted to “be besties” with everyone.
Colleen later accused her former fans of making up “lies and rumors” about her for “clout,” before boldly stating: “The only thing I’ve ever groomed is my two Persian cats.” She also seemingly briefly made reference to the aforementioned interaction she’d had with the fan onstage for the “yoga challenge” at her live show, though appeared to make light of the entire thing, singing: “I’m not a predator, even though a lot of you think so because five years ago I made a fart joke.”
Many internet users across YouTube comments and Twitter were left appalled at Colleen’s decision to sing about, and seemingly trivialize such serious allegations, and accused her of “invalidating” and “gaslighting” those who had spoken out.
One Twitter user who was particularly upset was Adam McIntyre, the first person to make claims against Colleen to HuffPost. In his tweet, Adam described feeling “discredited” and “made fun of” by the video.
July 1: A Former Employee Speaks Out
Things took yet another turn when April Korto Quioh, a Black former employee on Colleen’s 2016 Netflix series Haters Back Off!, publicly alleged that the YouTuber had displayed racist behavior on set and pitched disturbing content for the series’ scripts.
April, who was a writers’ assistant, show runner’s assistant, and writers’ PA, claimed that Colleen referred to the use of “POC background actors” in the show as “distracting.” She also seemingly alleged that she heard Colleen using the N-word on set, writing in a newsletter post: “I recall overhearing her once brag that a creator was being ‘canceled’ for saying the n-word (and if you think she went with ‘N-word’ instead of hitting that hard ‘r,’ then you haven’t been paying attention) and that she would never be stupid enough to get caught doing something like that.”
April further claimed that Colleen was intent on including plenty of “incestual innuendo” in the show’s scripts, allegedly working in storylines that featured Miranda and her uncle Jim being caught in “compromising positions.” She alleged, “It all felt deeply wrong — she would show us photos of the packed rows of smiling children who had attended her show the night before, and in the same breath, spend hours trying to think of a way to show Miranda and Uncle Jim all but having actual sex on screen.”
“While I cannot speak to the specific allegations against Colleen Ballinger — I stand with every single one of the children and young adults who have bravely shared their experiences in the past few weeks,” she added elsewhere. Colleen has not responded to any of these allegations made by April.
July 1: JoJo Siwa
On the same day that April’s claims were made public, a compilation of Colleen’s past interactions with now-20-year-old JoJo Siwa gained fresh traction on TikTok and left several viewers feeling “uncomfortable.”
One of the clips showed then-29-year-old Colleen posing as Miranda and asking JoJo, who was 13 at the time, if she’d ever “taken the pants off and seen what’s inside.” Colleen later stated that JoJo was “a naughty little girl” who kept “twerking and hurting her tookie,” which she’d previously suggested meant her crotch area.
In other videos, Miranda and JoJo have played a game of Never Have I Ever that centered on subjects like kissing, crushes, and body parts; floated on a large inflatable banana together in a swimming pool while fully clothed; and had a “slime war” that left their chests stuck together by the gooey substance.
The resurfaced compilation of Colleen and JoJo’s past interactions left many TikTok users calling out the adult and labeling the friendship “disturbing,” “weird,” and “inappropriate.” Colleen hasn’t yet responded to the compilation.
Days later, former fans of Colleen publicly alleged that she’d previously sent them explicit nude photos and videos of YouTuber Trisha Paytas.
Johnny Silvestri, now 27, claimed on Twitter that Colleen had sent him unsolicited naked photos of Trisha when he was 22. This appeared to be the case in screenshots of alleged text exchanges that Johnny had had with Colleen, which he posted on his account.
Johnny also claimed that he’d received messages from Colleen that suggested she’d held “viewing parties” with her friends to watch and make fun of Trisha’s NSFW content. Meanwhile, Adam McIntyre later alleged that Colleen had also sent him naked photos of Trisha when he was a minor.
What made these allegations even more shocking was the fact that Trisha and Colleen — who have been publicly friendly for years — launched a podcast together just this May titled Oversharing with Colleen Ballinger & Trisha Paytas, and have been uploading episodes as recently as June 6.
Not long after Johnny and Adam’s tweets were shared, Trisha responded to the controversy with a 21-minute YouTube video titled “colleen.” In the video, she claimed that there were “multiple times” that Colleen had sent her fans explicit nude photos and videos of Trisha — most of which, she clarified, were “behind a paywall that requires someone to be 18 and over.”
“I think that’s so inhumane, I think that’s so disgusting for anyone,” Trisha said, before alleging: “These weren’t a long time ago. This is someone well into their 30s, just gave birth, sending nudes. And a month prior, I was in her house, meeting her child... and doing a Mukbang with her.”
Later in the video, Trisha claimed that Colleen had denied all the allegations when she confronted her about them.
“I did ask her about these a couple of weeks ago,” Trisha alleged. “She assured me that she had never sent photos of me, [and] that this one fan who was underage at the time would send photos to her.”
“[Colleen] was like, ‘No, he was a fan, he sent photos to me, and he was obsessed with you… and once in a while, I’d respond to him.’ That’s what she told me a couple of weeks ago,” Trisha claimed.
Colleen’s representatives did not respond to BuzzFeed's request for comment at the time.
July 5: The First Miranda Sings Live Show Is Canceled
Amid the growing controversy, one of Miranda Sings’s live shows, which was scheduled to take place in Missouri on August 10, was suddenly canceled.
Per the website MetroTix, the event was canceled due to “unforeseen circumstances,” and ticket-holders were promised full, automatic refunds. Fans speculated that the venue had been the ones to pull the show in response to the backlash against Colleen after noticing that she’s still advertising the show on her Miranda Sings tour website, and has yet to publicly address the cancellation.
July 8: “How To Sing Like a Black Woman”
Another old video of the YouTuber posing as Miranda resurfaced online; this time she was singing “like a Black woman,” as the title of the video explained.
In the resurfaced clip, Colleen — as Miranda — tells her viewers that in order to sing like a “big Black woman,” you should sing “really loud,” before demonstrating by singing a line from Jennifer Hudson’s “And I Am Tellin' You I’m Not Going.”
The resurfaced clip left social media users accusing Colleen of invoking microaggressions and racially-charged stereotypes in the name of “comedy,” which prompted a wider discussion around how long her controversial content has flown under the radar. It has since led to further compilation videos showing racially insensitive behavior. Colleen has not responded to the video or the discourse it prompted.