Credit: Courtesy

Santa Barbara native and YouTube star Colleen Ballinger — who is better known for her alter ego and musical comedy character Miranda Sings — broke her silence on the recent backlash she received over allegations that she formed inappropriate relationships with her teenage fans, with a 10-minute video in which she plays the ukulele and sings a song addressing the accusations.

Ballinger, who was born and raised in Santa Barbara and attended San Marcos High School before graduating from Azusa Pacific University in 2008, began performing as the satirical character Miranda Sings in 2009. The one-woman comedy act became popular for the character’s bright-red lipstick, outlandish singing style, and over-the-top lack of self-awareness — which Ballinger intended as a caricature of fame-seeking but talentless online musicians.

Miranda Sings became immensely popular, with Ballinger’s YouTube accounts gaining more than 22 million subscribers, in addition to a two-season Netflix series, Haters Back Off, and live comedy tours all across the world.

But in 2020, allegations surfaced that she had formed an inappropriate relationship with one of her younger fans and former social media interns, YouTuber Adam McIntyre, who at the time was between the ages of 13 and 16. The accusations came out when McIntyre — who started a Miranda Sings fan account when he was 10 years old — posted a video describing the relationship, which included descriptions of Ballinger sending him lingerie as a joke.

Later accusations included screenshots of a group chat between Ballinger and her teenage fans, in which Ballinger made sexually suggestive comments in messages to the teens about McIntyre hosting a Q&A on his channel. “Are you a virgin?” Ballinger suggests he asks, followed by, “What’s your favorite position?”

In the apology video posted to Ballinger’s personal vlog account Wednesday, she begins by sitting in front of the camera — presumably at the $6.2 million Santa Barbara home she purchased last year — with a solemn look, before she reaches off-screen to grab her ukulele. She takes a deep breath, then begins strumming.

“Hey, it’s been a while since you saw my face. I haven’t been doing so great, so I took a little break,” she sings. “A lot of people are saying some things about me that aren’t quite true. Doesn’t matter if it’s true, though, just as long as it’s entertaining to you, right?”

Throughout the video, she alternates between her original song about the “toxic gossip train” — with a one-way ticket to “manipulation station” — and sing-talking bridges in which she explains “the facts” of the situation in her words.

“Even though my legal team has strongly advised me to not say what I want to say,” she says while strumming, “I recently realized that they never said that I couldn’t sing what I want to say.”

The song, while admittedly catchy and upbeat, doesn’t explicitly address the allegations made by McIntyre, nor does she mention him by name. Instead, the song’s chorus chides the public for “chugging down the tracks of misinformation” on a locomotive “fueled with hateful accusations.”

Between choruses, she offers vague explanations. “Many years ago, I used to message my fans,” she says over the strumming. “But not in a creepy way like a lot of you are trying to suggest. It was more of a loser kind of way — I was trying to be besties with everybody.”  

“In the beginning of my career I didn’t really understand that there should probably be some boundaries there,” she sings. “There were times in the DMs when I would overshare details of my life, which was really weird of me. I haven’t done that for years, you see, ’cause I changed my behavior and took accountability.”

About halfway through the video, Ballinger sings about the backlash she predicted would come from the ukulele apology, and alleges that the accusations are untrue. “I’m sure you’re all disappointed in my shitty little song. I know you wanted me to say that I was 100 percent in the wrong. Well, I’m sorry I’m not gonna take that route of admitting to lies and rumors that you made up for clout.”

Later, she says it was “not her intention to manipulate her fans,” and that it was “not very fun to have millions of people all over the world call you the most vile, horrendous, life-ruining words that a person could be called.”

The video created a firestorm of comment videos and Twitter replies, calling the apology “cringe,” insincere, and “a slap in the face” to those who made allegations against her. McIntyre responded to the video during a livestream on Twitch, where he said he couldn’t believe that he never received a public or private apology from Ballinger herself.

Ballinger could not be reached for comment. Her video has amassed more than 4.8 million views in less than two days.


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