If you've been anywhere near the internet lately, chances are you'll have seen the name Colleen Ballinger trending. Following resurfaced allegations of "toxic and exploitative" relationships with her fans, outlined in a lengthy Rolling Stone report(opens in a new tab), the YouTuber and actor has issued a flippant and ill-advised video response.
But who is Colleen Ballinger, what has she been accused of, and how has she responded? We've broken it down below.
Who is Colleen Ballinger?
Colleen Ballinger is a singer, actor, and comedian who is best known for her YouTube-turned-Netflix character Miranda Sings — a bumbling, aspiring singer that has built Ballinger almost 11 million YouTube subscribers(opens in a new tab) on the character's channel alone. As this character, Ballinger starred in her own 2016 Netflix series Haters Back off, which ran for two seasons, and she released the non-fiction book Self-Help which landed on the New York Times best seller list.
Ballinger also has her own vlog channel, Colleen Vlogs(opens in a new tab), with over 3 million subscribers, and has performed voice acting in films like The Angry Birds Movie 2.
What has Colleen Ballinger been accused of?
One of the key people speaking out with allegations against Ballinger is Adam McIntyre, a former fan of Ballinger who became friends with the YouTuber and eventually began writing tweets for her and posting them on her behalf. In 2020, McIntyre posted a video(opens in a new tab) titled "colleen ballinger, stop lying" in which he spoke about their friendship and how it allegedly evolved into Ballinger speaking with him about her personal life — including her divorce — when he was in his early teens, and on one occasion sending him lingerie as a joke.
Then, in early June of this year, as Rolling Stone reported, another former fan of Ballinger, Kodeerants, shared a now-deleted video describing a private group chat that existed with Ballinger and her young fans called "Colleeny’s Weenies," in which she allegedly sent messages related to sex.. McIntyre responded with his own video(opens in a new tab), confirming the group's existence.
Tweet may have been deleted (opens in a new tab)
How has Colleen Ballinger responded to allegations?
On Wednesday, Ballinger took to YouTube and posted a bizarre response to the allegations: a 10-minute song featuring a ukulele in which she sings lyrics like "I'm not a groomer / I'm just a loser," and repeatedly refers to "the toxic gossip train".
The song hasn't gone down well, with comments calling it "an apology without an apology", "painfully millennial", and asking her to "take accountability" for her actions.
Mashable has reached out to Ballinger for comment, and we will update this article if we receive a response.
If you have experienced grooming, call the free, confidential National Sexual Assault hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673), or access the 24-7 help online by visiting online.rainn.org(opens in a new tab). If you are based in the UK, contact the NSPCC by calling 0808 800 5000.
To report information about child grooming, contact the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children on 1-800-843-5678(opens in a new tab). In the UK, you can report concerns about a child to the NSPCC by calling 0808 800 5000 or emailing [email protected](opens in a new tab).