The internet can be a dangerous place. Even when you think you're in a safe place, it can turn out to be dangerous. Take, for example, the seemingly innocuous YouTube channel Miranda Sings. The channel, run by Colleen Ballinger, publishes awkward songs and videos, popular with all ages. However, it turns out that Ballinger might have been a danger to fans, especially younger fans who messaged her. And that was just the beginning of the story.
Innocent or grooming?
Colleen Ballinger has been accused of engaging in inappropriate conversations with younger fans. Numerous screenshots have been posted online, appearing to show Ballinger engaging in inappropriate conversations and sending flirtatious messages. While some of these messages could be seen as innocent banter, others suggest a more serious issue. There are screenshots that show her talking with these young fans about topics such as virginity and sexual positions.
In addition, other users have reported that Ballinger has requested personal information from younger fans or asked them to do things such as doing free work for her, such as coming up with content ideas and then not paying them, bullying, and other bizarre requests. For example, the screenshots show that she enlisted her young fans to attack people online who had criticized her or her channel. In addition to online inappropriateness, there have also been on-stage issues.
After news of the issues arose, Ballinger disappeared for a while. During a crisis, if you're ready to fully acknowledge the situation and apologize fully, then radio silence is the best path forward. However, when you return from your absence, you need to be ready to address the issue head-on. That's not really what happened here. Instead, Ballinger decided to publish a video on YouTube in which she plays the ukelele and blames the issue on people online enjoying her pain, and never apologizes for anything.
It is easily one of the worst things she could have possibly done. I think that claiming that what she did was a good thing would have been the only worse decision. The song, which somehow has a comedic and angry tone at the same time, doesn't take the situation seriously and plays it off as if it were in the same category as a high school football rivalry, rather than accusations of sexual grooming of children.
The swift backlash
The response to the video, which has millions of views, has been unified in its anger. People hate what she has done and condemn the video. Countless response videos have been published to the site, all criticising Ballinger for her tone deaf demeaner. Ballinger, in her continued misunderstanding of what's happening here, has since uploaded the song to Apple Music to try to make a little more money on the issue.
To make matters worse, she is now trying to remove critical videos by using DMCA takedown notices. These requests are being met with challenges, as the videos are critical, which falls under Fair Use rules. The end result here could possibly be the loss of her own account for a large number of false DMCA notices.
In addition, the rest of her current tour, which just started and was intended to run through the end of August, has been canceled. Finally, a decision that makes sense. It's time for Ballinger to go back into hiding until she gets the help she so clearly needs and is able to come back and apologize for her behavior.