Colleen Ballinger: Everything we know about the ‘grooming’ allegations against YouTuber Miranda Sings

Ballinger, 36, is accused of ‘trauma dumping’, sending sexually suggestive messages, and developing inappropriate emotional relationships with former fans when they were minors

Maanya Sachdeva,Kate Ng
Saturday 01 July 2023 09:34 BST
Related: Collin Ballinger stars in Haters Back Off

Colleen Ballinger has denied allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards her former fans in a bizarre musical video in which she plays the ukelele and sings a song.

The influential YouTuber, who created the popular sketch character Miranda Sings, faced accusations of child grooming. In a video posted to her Colleen Vlogs YouTube channel on Wednesday (28 June), Ballinger called the allegations “lies” and “toxic gossip” all while playing the ukulele.

Public allegations against Ballinger date back to April 2020 when Adam McIntyre released a video titled “colleen ballinger, stop lying”.

But in her video addressing them, Ballinger said: “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.”

In McIntyre’s video, the now-22-year-old claimed Ballinger developed an imbalanced, unhealthy friendship with him when he was as young as 13.

He said in a tweet addressing the YouTuber’s ukelele song: “As much as colleen discredited & made fun of me, im 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.”

McIntyre reportedly first met Ballinger in 2014 at a tour stop in Dublin during a “very professional” interaction.

Two years later, they spoke directly during one of Ballinger’s livestreams in 2016, when one of his comments made McIntyre known to the star. During the livestream, Ballinger reportedly promised she would send some of her “ugly” and unused clothes to a few of her fans.

McIntyre received a set of her underwear shortly after, he said, during his 25-minute YouTube video posted over three years ago.

McIntyre had also claimed he was part of “Colleeny’s Weenies”, a small Twitter group chat with some of her other fans. In a subsequent video posted earlier this month, McIntyre shared screenshots from the private chat, in which Ballinger allegedly asked him what his “favourite position” was.

In 2016, McIntyre reportedly wrote in the chat that his “a** looks good”, to which Ballinger allegedly replied: “Pics Adam”.

Ballinger previously admitted 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.”

Ballinger with her ex-husband Joshua Evans

People accepted Ballinger’s apology at the time, with some turning on McIntyre who was reportedly “called slurs, threatened and doxxed by Ballinger’s fans”.

Allegations against Ballinger resurfaced earlier this month, after another ex-fan, KodeeRants, corroborated McIntyre’s claims about the “Colleeny’s Weenies” private chat in a since-deleted video.

Now, several former members of the Miranda Sings fan club have shared their own experiences with Ballinger in interviews with HuffPost UK.

McIntyre said Ballinger allegedly claimed her husband Joshua Evans, who was a popular YouTuber at the time, was “emotionally abusive” towards her on the group chat.

After everyone went “silent for a second”, McIntyre added: “And then we’re like, ‘Oh, my God, babe, I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.’ Like [before that] we were having a conversation about homework because we were children.”

McIntyre said members of the chat group began to defend Ballinger during her then-ongoing divorce from Evans, while attacking her former partner on gossip sites or in the comments sections of YouTube videos – allegedly spurred by Ballinger herself.

Brey, who was 16 when she was part of the private message group, said she felt like Ballinger’s “bodyguard”.

Evans denied he was emotionally abusive to Ballinger in an interview with the publication, recalling that he received death threats after the former couple separated.

“I was so involved in this woman’s life that it’s embarrassing to look back on,” McIntyre said, explaining how Ballinger would “trauma dump” on him. “There were some days, on a school night, I would be up until like 4 am trying to calm her down or try to give her advice. ... It was a private thing.”

Other people have come forward to highlight other incidents.

In 2019, during a live “yoga challenge” event, Ballinger called a young fan called Becky onstage and, in character as Miranda Sings, lifted her legs over her head and spread them wide open. A fart sound was played over this moment.

Becky, who was wearing a romper or a playsuit at the time, told HuffPost: “I looked up to her so much and I just trusted her so much that I did it. I laid down and she just spread my legs wide open for everybody to see.”

In a separate interview with Rolling Stone, she added: “I was mortified in that position. I was in shock. But I had so many like friends through [the fandom] that I didn’t want to necessarily lose.

“So for a little bit, I was pretending to be like ‘Yeah, that was really funny.’ I was worried that I would be called ungrateful because I got to go up on stage.”

Social media users have been resharing this incident, calling it an example of Ballinger “traumatising a minor”.

Some people have also opened up about allegedly problematic behaviour on the part of Ballinger’s family and friends –specifically her brother Trent Ballinger and her best friend Kory Desoto.

Oliver, who is trans and identified as a girl in 2018, said Trent allegedly complimented Oliver’s looks, asked him for photos and told him to “text anytime”. Oliver was 13 at the time, while Trent was 33.

In one message, seen by Rolling Stone, Trent reportedly told Oliver: “Anything we talk about stays between u and I.

Another message reportedly read: “You would look good preg if you ever want children one day.”

The Independent has contacted Trent’s representatives for contact.

Johnny Silvestri, who worked as an assistant on Ballinger’s tour when he was 22, claimed Desoto “screamed at him and verbally belittled him” — and that Ballinger witnessed this behaviour and didn’t do anything about it.

Silvestri also alleged Evans “exploited him for free labour” to manage his social media accounts, adding: “I found solace and safety in this online group of people. And these grown-a** adults abused it.”

Evans apologised to Silvestri on Twitter earlier this month.

Ballinger didn’t respond to requests for comment from either publication, making her 2020 video the last time she addressed McIntyre’s allegations.

The Independent has contacted her representatives for comment, as well as representatives for Desoto and Trent. Ballinger has not responded to The Independent’s request for comment.

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