It’s been four months since Colleen Ballinger, the YouTube comedian behind Miranda Sings, faced a barrage of accusations regarding inappropriate behaviour towards and grooming of children and young adults. That’s a decade in internet time, but still not long enough for some of us. Now, Ballinger is back and trying to clean up the many messes she made.
In a new video simply titled “fall vlog,” Ballinger returned to YouTube to offer an ‘apology’ relating to those accusations. Well, mostly, she was embarrassed by her first response to the allegations, which was a ten-minute-long song with a ukulele accompaniment. Yes, that happened. Yes, it was utterly excruciating. I watched it so you wouldn’t have to and my soul shall never be scrubbed clean. On top of being callously twee, the ukulele song essentially tried to ‘baw cancel culture is coming for me’ accusations of being inappropriate towards kids. It didn’t work. So, now, Ballinger is trying to dig up from that hole she carved out.
‘Obviously, the last video that I posted on here is really embarrassing, to say the least. I was being accused of some pretty awful things and I just was mad,’ Ballinger said. ‘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.’
That’s certainly one way of putting it. Ego goes a long way to explaining how one watches videos of themselves making sexual gestures and comments towards a kid on-stage at your show and responds with a song that’s longer than ‘November Rain.’ It didn’t scream, ‘My publicist wrote this for me.’ This new apology, however, totally does.
Addressing those allegations, Ballinger says (via Variety because I’m not linking to that damn video):
‘Over the last 15 years of my career, there have been moments where I was immature and inappropriate with some of my comedy. And there were times when I did not put enough thought into my fan interactions. And because of that behavior, people got hurt, and I am so sorry. I never wanted to hurt anybody, but it’s clear that I did and I feel so terrible about that.’
‘I’m not a perfect person’, she said, a phrase that only ever seems to be used by people who have done abhorrent shit and have to explain why. Ballinger is, of course, planning to continue work on YouTube, and has already posted updates on what she’s got in the pipeline.
‘I just wanted to come on here and say that I’m sorry and I wanted to try to show people that it’s possible for someone to grow and learn and be better after making mistakes many years ago,’ she also said. OK, but what lessons has she learned? We haven’t seen any real humility over this or even a basic understanding that wannabe edgelord humour is no excuse for treating literal children as she did. This was no one-off incident. It was the backbone of her entire shtick for over 15 years.
Apologies like this aren’t intended for the people hurt or those offended. They’re for future advertisers and the platform itself to ensure that the gravy train never stops rolling. It’s another reminder that YouTube, in particular, has never truly cared about the safety of the majority-youth userbase it has cultivated. What’s to stop the next Ballinger from cultivating inappropriate parasocial relationships with kids? YouTube still encourages family channels and endless content based on exploiting kids, and that rot has spread to platforms like TikTok, which are even more lawless in terms of moderation and harassment.
I imagine Ballinger will settle down into being a tepid family vlogger, and Miranda Sings will be retired quietly and without much fanfare. Whether or not she’ll be the money-maker she was a few years ago seems doubtful, but she will continue to earn a living from the platform that birthed her. If only she was the exception to YouTube’s problems and not the rule.