YouTuber Colleen Ballinger has posted her first new videos after being accused in June of having inappropriate conversations with minors online and inappropriate interactions onstage with fans who were minors at the time. Titled “Fall vlog,” it’s Ballinger’s first video since June, when she responded to the controversy via song in a 10-minute video that viewers did not receive well.
In the new post, a 13-minute video uploaded to her secondary vlog channel, Ballinger begins by apologizing for being away for so long and calls her previous upload “embarrassing, to say the least.”
“I was being accused of some pretty awful things and I was mad,” she says. “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.”
Ballinger is known for her character Miranda Sings, a parody of an overconfident theater kid who thinks she can sing but can’t. She has three YouTube channels—her main one where she posts videos as herself, about her family and life, with over 8.41 million subscribers; one for Miranda Sings, with over 10.6 million subscribers; and her vlog channel, where she has been posting these new videos, which has accumulated over 3.42 million subscribers.
The allegations of inappropriate behavior began in 2020 when a YouTuber named Adam McIntyre made a video about his experience with Ballinger. In his video, he said he came up with content ideas for her and was not paid. Among other things, he said that she and her best friend, Kory DeSoto, sent him lingerie when he was 13. She later apologized to him on Twitter and made a video addressing the situation. In early June 2023, a YouTuber named KodeeRants uploaded a video talking about their experience with Ballinger and it became the catalyst for others to speak up and speak about their interactions with her. They deemed the conversations to be inappropriate. On June 28, Ballinger addressed the controversy in a video with a song as she played the ukulele.
In July, Trisha Paytas said the podcast she was hosting with Ballinger was ending after Johnny Silvestri, a fan who spoke with TIME about his experiences, said Ballinger had sent him photos and videos from Paytas’ OnlyFans page and had “viewing parties” of her content—which is meant only to be accessed by subscribers who are 18 or older. “I’m embarrassed for the fans that she messaged those to,” Paytas said in a video posted on July 3, adding that she was done speaking about the situation. “That should never have happened. And, again, this really hurts sex workers as a whole — this is out there and it looks like we’re some deviants because this is used in this way.”
In the first new video, posted Nov. 18, Ballinger said, “Over the last 15 years of my career, there have been moments where I was immature and inappropriate with some of my comedy. There were times when I did not put enough thought into some of my fan interactions, and because of that behavior, people got hurt.”
Ballinger said she feels “terrible” for hurting people, and that it was never her intention. She ended the formal apology portion of the video by saying that she took time away to focus on herself and her family. Moving forward, she said, she plans to be more mindful about the space she creates for her fans online and wants to serve as an example of someone who can grow and learn from their mistakes.
Ballinger then gave an update on what she’s been up to since June, saying she spent most of that time in therapy. The remainder of the video is a more traditional vlog, featuring Ballinger doing things around the house, talking about her chicken coop, and talking to her fans. And on Sunday, Ballinger followed up with a second vlog post titled “What I’ve Been Up To.”
The overwhelming reaction was positive, with many responses in the comments section saying, “So glad you’re back!” and “We missed you!” But a growing number of critics are speaking out on the video, both in and outside of the comments section.
In a video reacting to Ballinger’s post, McIntyre called it a “slap in the face,” saying it was just a tactical move on Ballinger’s part because if she did not post a new video within six months of her last one, her channel would be demonetized. According to YouTube’s monetization guidelines, the platform reserves the right to demonetize a channel if it is inactive for six months or more.