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Colleen Ballinger: Power Dynamics in Parasocial Relationships

YouTube star Colleen Ballinger, known for creating the character Miranda Sings, has been called out for her inappropriate behavior and conversations with fans. Multiple victims have come out with screenshots and proof of Colleen Ballinger engaging in group chats with underage fans. Having posted videos on the internet since 2008, the 36-year-old YouTuber has 3 different channels, with her most-subscribed channel being Miranda Sings, which has accumulated more than 10 million subscribers since its creation.

Miranda Sings is comically talentless and posts singing videos poking fun at other teenagers who sing online. Miranda is portrayed as an arrogant narcissist who believes she has been famous since she was born. She is also known for having bright red lips. Colleen made a living off these videos as well as live shows and standup comedy acts. In 2016, it was announced that Colleen would star in a Netflix series called “Haters Back Off” which had 2 seasons. Since her career started, Colleen has vlogged and performed as Miranda Sings and herself through a separate vlog channel.

In May of 2023, proof of Colleen engaging in group chats with minors came out. One of her past fans, Adam McIntyre, has proof of Colleen sharing inappropriate details about her personal life and divorce with him when he was only 13 years old seven years ago. Adam also revealed that he made content for her YouTube channel and social media accounts without getting paid. Colleen used Adam as well as sent him lingerie as a joke in a livestream for a charity event. One month after the claims resurfaced, Colleen was still performing live shows and never addressed these claims. Then, on June 28, Colleen posted a 10-minute video titled “hi.” on her vlog channel. The video, which is the most viewed on her channel with over 12 million views and 1 million dislikes, is her sitting down with her ukulele in hand and singing about how cancel culture is a toxic gossip train “chugging down the tracks of misinformation.” She says in the video that her team would not let her speak on what was going on, but she states that “they never said that I couldn’t sing.” Notable lyrics in the “Toxic Gossip Train” song include:

“I’m not a groomer, I’m just a loser.”

“Bring out the daggers made from your perfect past and stab me repeatedly in my bony little back.”

“The only thing I’ve ever groomed is my 2 Persian cats.”

“I won’t survive in the crash but hey, at least you’re having fun.”

“Your goal is to ruin the life of the person you despise, while you dramatize your lies and monetize their demise.”

Colleen Ballinger denied all allegations about her behavior and has since lost over 100,000 followers, canceled her upcoming tour, and stopped posting. Several of her brand sponsorships have also dropped her.

With all the claims resurfacing about Colleen’s inappropriate behavior, racism (mocking latino stereotypes, blackface), and using Adam for more views, the internet has turned against her and sparked the discussion of power dynamics in parasocial relationships. The power that influencers can have over their fans can cause fans to crave their attention. It is much easier to get in contact with influencers/celebrities than ever before due to direct messages and social media in general. Before, it was limited to in-person concerts, and meet and greets. The relationship between an influencer and a fan is problematic because it’s not a real-life-based relationship. There may be a sense of trust when an influencer shares their life online because the fans believe they know the person on the screen. When Colleen engaged with Adam, and many other fans through these group chats, she used this power dynamic to her advantage and strung her fans along into believing that they were actually important to her.

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About the Contributor
Tyler Weaver
Tyler Weaver, Entertainment Writer
Tyler is a junior at Richwoods High School. He has been a part of Interact club, IB programme, 2 years of student council, theater, and participates in other school activities. In his free time, he enjoys listening to music, cooking, playing guitar and piano, as well as performing in various shows around the Peoria area.

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