- YouTuber Colleen Ballinger, more widely known as Miranda Sings, apologized for a racist caricature, fat-shaming, and other “insensitive” remarks she made in previous videos.
- Ballinger also defended herself against claims of child grooming, which came after 17-year-old Adam Mcintyre, a former fan, posted a video accusing her manipulating him.
- Mcintyre also revealed that Ballinger sent him an unused set of women’s lingerie when he was thirteen.
- Ballinger gave more context about the lingerie situation and apologized for mistakes she said she made when communicating with him.
Adam Mcintyre Posts Video
YouTuber Colleen Ballinger has now addressed multiple accusations that she’s faced in recent weeks, including claims of grooming, racism, fat-shaming, and joking about getting her dog put down when she was a child.
Much of the criticism against Ballinger, who is known for her off-color and quirky Miranda Sings character, stemmed from a video posted two weeks ago by 17-year-old Adam Mcintyre.
In that video, titled “colleen ballinger, stop lying,” Mcintyre said he used to be a huge fan of Ballinger, so much so that he ran fan accounts on Instagram and Twitter. According to Mcintyre, the two first met at one of Ballinger’s live shows in 2016. At the time, Mcintyre was 13-years-old. Later, in 2018, Mcintyre said they met again at another show.
Between this time, Mcintyre says the two became good friends and would often talk over social media; however, Mcinytre also said that during that time, Ballinger started to tell him private details about her divorce from Joshua Evans in 2016.
Mcintyre said while his parents were originally supportive that Ballinger was interacting with their son because he was such a huge fan, they started to become cautious, wondering why Ballinger, who was 30 at the time, was sharing such private information with a minor.
After that, Mcintyre said his relationship with Ballinger turned into one where he was asked to look at drama channels and find out what they were saying about her, Evans, her ex-friends, and her fans.
“At the time, I saw this as harmless, and I was just really excited that my favorite person in the entire world wanted to talk to me,” Mcintyre said. “Now, looking back though, I can see it was just a way of baiting me to constantly get me to get her the information.”
Mcintyre said because of this, his name began being inserted into those situations and he ultimately faced cyberbullying because of it. His parents then encouraged him to distance himself from Ballinger. He said he did several times but would always get sucked back in because Ballinger would send him a “nice” message.
“I tried not to be upset with myself because I was thirteen to fifteen during this time,” he said. “I’m still really young now. I’m only seventeen, but looking back, it’s hard to not get… like ugh! ‘Fix yourself! You know, stop engaging in that. You’re being used.’”
Ballinger Sends Mcintyre an Unused Bra in 2016
One the most concerning claims that Mcintyre made was that Ballinger sent him a pair of women’s lingerie in 2016.
The incident began with a livestream where Ballinger and her friend, Kory DeSoto, were showing off “ugly clothes” they bought at Forever 21. DeSoto put that underwear on over his clothes as a joke. They promised to send them to fans, but one of those fans ended up being Mcintyre.
“Adam, let me know what you want,” Ballinger says in the video, “He’s in Ireland. Hi, Adam. I love you. Okay, I’m sending him something. Okay, maybe he’ll want the panties. Although, then his parents will be like, ‘You’re not allowed to watch—who was sending you panties?’ ‘Mom, don’t worry! I watched a boy wear them online first!’”
According to Mcintyre, even though Ballinger was joking about his parents being mad, they were furious. Mcintyre said they took the underwear right away.
Apparently, however, his parents kept the lingerie. In his video, Mcintyre said he asked his mother to find them, and she later did. In the video, he then shows them as proof that Ballinger actually sent him the underwear.
Mcintyre Posts “Queerbait” on Miranda Sings Twitter
According to Mcintyre, after the underwear incident, he helped give her ideas from 2017 to 2018. That was partially because he said Ballinger was looking for a way to reinvigorate the character.
“She was aware that the Miranda character had passed its time and that she didn’t really enjoy doing it anymore because she couldn’t really be problematic as the character anymore,” he said.
“So in December 2017, I proper started giving tweets for the Miranda account. This included tweets on iCarly, Brazil, and a number of other things.”
After that, he stopped for a while but said he started giving more ideas on March 25 of this year. According to Mcintyre, Ballinger then started tweeting some of his ideas.
With that, Mcintyre said he pitched about 15 different tweet ideas, one of those including a tweet where Miranda Sings would “come out” as a Meghan Trainor fan.
Mcintyre said Ballinger was initially confused about the tweet, saying that she wasn’t sure what he was trying to say about Meghan. Showing a screenshot of their alleged conversation, he said he then explained the joke and she gave him the greenlight, sending him her login info for the Miranda Sings Twitter account and saying that she trusted him.
Showing another screenshot, Mcintyre claims that Ballinger said she was considering him her social media intern and that she was thinking about formally hiring him if the internship went well. In the alleged screenshot, Ballinger also said she didn’t want to take advantage of his help, which is why she said she wanted to pay him.
After that, Mcintyre posted the tweet.
Ballinger Accused of Queerbaiting
Shortly after that tweet went live, many fans and others on social media accused Ballinger of “queerbaiting,” essentially accusing her of making light of how difficult it can be for so many LGBTQ+ people to come out.
i do understand miranda, i’ve seen videos and im not stupid. but this goes beyond “making fun of people who queerbait” because that’s NOT what she’s doing. by saying she’s “coming out as a megan trainor fan” it makes it look like she’s mocking people who come out as 1/?— lily (@lgbtjshaught) March 27, 2020
“This is one of the main reasons it’s so hard to do Miranda now,” Ballinger reportedly told Mcintyre, according to the alleged screenshots. “People have a hard time understanding satire and jokes especially with sensitive topics.”
“Even though you have the password now,” she allegedly added, “I need to approve everything you post before you post it just to avoid problems.”
According to those alleged screenshots, Ballinger also went on to say that she wasn’t mad, just paranoid because “everyone always gets mad at me and I always have to apologize.”
Afterward, Ballinger deleted the Trainor tweet, allegedly privately telling Mcintyre that it wasn’t his fault and that she was “just too sensitive.”
Later, Ballinger reportedly messaged him again, saying she felt overwhelmed by all the backlash she was getting for that tweet and that she didn’t know what to do. Mcintyre then said Ballinger told him about how she apologized to one person.
“The thing is, I agree with them,” Ballinger allegedly told him. “Queerbaiting is not a joke. I’m super sad I’ve upset so many people.”
Regarding messages like that, Mcintyre has affirmed that Ballinger was trying to guilt him and “make me feel bad for something she had already approved and found funny. And she didn’t seem to see any problems with it.”
In later messages, Ballinger continues to tell him how bad she feels, though Mcintyre makes the point of saying she never asked him about how he felt.
Mcintyre then sent her one last message saying that the situation would die down and that “twitter drama stays on twitter,” but from here, she didn’t respond.
Old Videos Resurface
Now, following Mcintyre’s video, the backlash against Ballinger began to stack. Because of a lot of the claims he made in that video, many people on social media called her a child groomer.
People like her get away with CHILD GROOMING which ISN’T OKAY she can go f off with all her stans. I used to be a fan, now I’m not.— RachToph (@racheltopham101) May 13, 2020
she IS a grown woman which is why sending lingerie to a minor no matter HOW “funny” it was or how much he “begged for it” IS still child grooming— doja mel ari (@saysormix) May 7, 2020
Others dug up old videos of her, one from 14 years ago where she and her sister pretended to be two Latina women. In that video, it appears that the women darkened their skin and drew on exaggerated eyebrows.
Also in it, they sing about crossing the border, working at Del Taco, and making burritos.
In a separate video posted twelve years ago, people accused her of fat-shaming because of how she talks about an overweight woman who sat next to her on a plane.
“So then they’re about to close the doors and who walks on: an extremely obese Asian woman with facial hair,” Ballinger said in the video, “and she walks on and I’m like, ‘Please don’t sit next to me. Please don’t sit next to me.’ And then I turn around, and of course, there are no open seats on the plane, so of course, she comes and sits right next to me. And on me. Her fat rolls are like rolling over onto me.”
In another clip, Ballinger told a story about how when she was three, she dug her nails into the family dog. It yelped and then bit her on the face. Ultimately, that dog was then put down. After telling that story, Ballinger joked about how she “murdered” the family dog.
Colleen Ballinger Addresses Accusations and Apologizes
While Ballinger also faced additional criticism for other actions she’s posted in videos, on Tuesday, she posted a video titled, “addressing everything.”
In it, she apologized for and attempted to explain these four different sets of accusations.
Regarding the video where she pretends to be a Latina woman, she says, “The characters are completely based on racial stereotypes. It is not funny, and it is completely hurtful. I am so ashamed and embarrassed that I ever thought that this was okay. I was a sheltered teenager, who was stupid and ignorant and clearly, extremely culturally insensitive. Racial stereotypes are not funny. They are not a joke, and they should never be joked about.”
With that, Ballinger then went on to add that she deleted the video from her channel a few years after it was posted.
Following that apology, she apologized for fat-shaming that woman on the plane.
“And I watched this clip, and I was shocked and I was appalled that those things were coming out of my mouth twelve years ago, because that is not the woman who I am today,” she said.
Ballinger also explained that she’s a “huge” advocate for body positivity now.
After that, she clarified her comments about the incident with her family dog, saying that a doctor told the family that legally, the dog needed to be put down. According to Ballinger, this very much upset her at the time, even though the video in question showed her being insensitive.
“Over the years, I have addressed this in videos a few times talking about how guilty I feel, how upset I am that this happened,” she said. “Still, to this day, I feel guilty as a 33-year-old woman that our dog had to be put down for biting me.”
However, the meat of this video was focused on addressing Mcintyre’s video and the backlash she’s seen because of it.
As to why she didn’t address it sooner, she said Mcintyre’s mother reached out to her, asking her not to speak his name, but now, she said it’s gotten to a point where she felt she needed to tell her side of the story.
With that, she talks about the “context” of why she sent Mcintyre women’s underwear when he was 13-years-old.
“In this livestream, I did a giveaway,” she said. “I was giving away clothes that were unused, tags still on, brand new, that I did not want. One of the items that was in this box was a really ugly pair of underwear. As soon as we pulled them out, Kory and I started laughing and joking around about how ugly they were. ‘Why did I buy these ridiculous underwear? It was so stupid.’”
She also noted that people started asking for them, including Mcintyre. In fact, that original video does appear to back up her claim.
After that livestream, Ballinger said she forgot to send the lingerie to Mcintyre, but he asked again over Twitter. This time, she sent it to him.
And while she noted that she’s always given away weird and random items, she said she does now realize how inappropriate the whole situation was.
“And so in my mind at the time,” Ballinger said, “this was no different than all the other weird stuff I send to my fans as a joke. Now, in hindsight, I see how completely stupid of me—I should have never sent that. I don’t know what part of my mind was missing at the time that I thought, ‘Oh, this is a normal silly thing to do.’”
“But it was never a sneaky, creepy gross thing that I was doing in secret,” she added. “It was a silly, stupid mistake that now is being blow way out of proportion.”
Ballinger also said that she always believed Mcintyre’s mother was always very supportive about her interactions with Mcintyre and that if she had known his mother was uncomfortable with the situation, that she would have cut off contact.
After that, Ballinger then went on to clarify her relationship with Mcintyre and why she allowed him to tweet for her, noting that she has, for years, publicly asked fans for advice on what to tweet.
She said, several years ago, she used some of Mcintyre’s tweets a few years back. She said after that, Mcintyre asked her multiple times if he could come up with ideas for posts, but she said didn’t engage in those conversations until recently when he sent her a folder full of ideas.
She then gave him what she described as a “test-run,” saying that if it went well, she wanted to hire him. Notably, she confirmed that he posted the Meghan Trainor tweet but admitted she failed to look over those ideas closely enough.
“And when he posted it,” she said. “I put zero blame on him at all. This was my fault. I knew better than to let someone else tweet for me. I should have reviewed closely every single thing that was going to come out of Miranda’s mouth. I let him know that I loved him, he did a great job. It was my fault, not his.”
Ballinger then ends her video by saying she still doesn’t blame Mcintyre, that she wishes him success, and that she hopes everyone can move on from the situation.
“No, I should have never sent a fan underwear,” she admitted. “How stupid am I? No, I definitely should have never given him access to my twitter account. And no, I should not have talked to him as often as I did. But I am not a monster. I am not a groomer, and I shouldn’t kill myself.”
Joe Rogan Says Grimes Did Not Give Dave Chappelle COVID-19
- Comedian Dave Chappelle is under quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19. He is asymptomatic and his remaining shows in Austin, Texas have been canceled.
- The news comes just days after Chappelle was photographed with Joe Rogan, Elon Musk, Grimes, and several others backstage at one of his Austin performances.
- “Because people are asking, I was not exposed to the person who had covid and I have tested negative every day this week,” Rogan wrote on Instagram Friday. “Also, the person that gave covid to Dave was NOT Elon’s partner @grimes.”
Chappelle Tests Positive
Comedian Dave Chappelle has tested positive for coronavirus and is currently under quarantine, according to one of his representatives.
In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, that rep also confirmed that he is currently asymptomatic and has canceled all of his remaining shows at Stubbs Waller Creek Amphitheater in Austin, Texas.
“Chappelle has safely conducted socially-distanced shows in Ohio since June 2020 and he moved those shows to Austin during the winter,” the statement read.
“Chappelle implemented COVID-19 protocols which included rapid testing for the audience and daily testing for himself and his team. His diligent testing enabled him to immediately respond by quarantining, thus mitigating the spread of the virus,” it continued.
Joe Rogan Speaks Out After He Was Photographed With Chappelle
Two of the remaining Austin shows were supposed to include fellow comedian Joe Rogan. Rogan took to Instagram Friday morning to announce that they will be rescheduled as soon as possible.
Still, many fans had questions about Rogan’s current state of health. The news of Chappelle’s positive test comes just days after he was photographed maskless with Rogan, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, musician Grimes, and several others backstage at one of his Austin performances.
Since Grimes, who is also in a relationship with Musk, recently had COVID, many were concerned that she may have exposed the group. Others wondered if Chappelle may have spread it.
Rogan eventually updates his Instagram caption to dismiss the ideas.
“Because people are asking, I was not exposed to the person who had covid and I have tested negative every day this week,” he wrote.“Also, the person that gave covid to Dave was NOT Elon’s partner @grimes.”
See what others are saying: (The Hollywood Reporter) (CNN) (AP News)
Netflix Passes 200M Subscribers as Other Streamers Struggle With Retention
- In a letter to shareholders, Netflix said it has hit over 200 million subscribers following a successful year of growth.
- The pandemic gave Netflix a significant subscriber boost in March and April. The company continued to perform well even in its final quarter, gaining 8.5 million subscribers when it was only projected to add 6 million.
- The data also highlights how relatively unaffected Netflix has been by new streaming services entering the market. While companies like Disney+, HBO Max, and Peacock continue to grow, they also struggle to retain the subscribers that sign up.
Netflix Passes 200 Million Subscribers
Netflix has topped 200 million subscribers following a year of strong growth in 2020.
In its Tuesday letter to shareholders, Netflix announced that it added 8.5 million subscribers in its fourth quarter. This exceeds projections, which estimated the streaming giant would only add around 6 million. In total, Netflix gained 37 million new memberships throughout 2020, bringing the company to 203.6 million subscribers.
Pandemic lockdowns gave Netflix a substantial boost in March in April. In the company’s first two quarters, it added a combined 25.7 million subscribers. According to data from the letter, Netflix had added over 10 million more subscribers by May of 2020 than it had by May of 2019.
When it comes to the success of their fourth quarter, Netflix pointed to shows like “Bridgerton” and “The Crown.” The fourth season of “The Crown” hit the platform in November, prompting many to return to older seasons of the show. Netflix claims the series has been viewed by 100 million households since it first aired in 2016.
Success Amid Growth of Competition
The year 2020 could have been a difficult one for Netflix as new streaming services entered the market. Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, Peacock and more have all made waves with their original programming or by taking some of their brand’s content from Netflix to host on their own site. User-based content on YouTube and TikTok also became increasingly popular throughout the pandemic, further posing as a threat to Netflix.
Still, it reached a massive milestone.
“Our strategy is simple: if we can continue to improve Netflix every day to better delight our members, we can be their first choice for streaming entertainment,” Netflix said in the letter. “This past year is a testament to this approach.”
Netflix potentially sees Disney+ as the biggest competitor among new platforms. In its letter, the company noted that the streamer added 87 million subscribers in its first year. In a Q&A, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings seemed enthusiastic about this competition.
“It’s super impressive what Disney’s done,” he said. “It’s going to be great for the world that Disney and Netflix are competing show-by-show, movie-by-movie. We’re very fired up about catching them in family animation, maybe eventually passing them, we’ll see. It’s a long way to go just to catch them, and maintaining our lead in general entertainment that’s so stimulating like ‘Bridgerton,’ which I don’t think you’re going to see on Disney anytime soon.”
Streamers Struggle with Retaining Subscribers
Even as new streamers have had impressive years, there is one hurdle that many are still struggling to jump over: retaining the subscribers who sign up. The Los Angeles Times named Disney+, HBO Max, Peacock, and Apple TV+ in particular, writing that people create accounts with these services, watch the TV shows or movies they are interested in, and cancel once they are done.
An October survey from Deloitte said that 46% of respondents canceled at least one streaming service in the last 6 months, which is up 20% from January of last year. Most who had canceled said they did so because they had finished watching whatever programming it was that brought them to that service.
Places like Disney+ and HBO Max are really vulnerable to this because they have banked on drawing people in with exclusive marquis titles like “Hamilton” or “Wonder Woman 1984.” However, since they are newer, they are still building their original programming catalog, meaning that people can quickly burn through highlight titles.
See what others are saying: (Los Angeles Times) (Wall Street Journal) (The Hollywood Reporter)
Paramount+ To Launch March 4
- ViacomCBS is launching Paramount+ in the United States and Latin America on March 4 before rolling out to other markets internationally later this year.
- The streaming service will be a relaunch and expansion of CBS All Access. It will include content from Nickelodeon, MTV, and more on top of the CBS-focused selection.
Paramount+ Gets Launch Date
ViacomCBS will be launching its streaming service Paramount+ in the U.S. and Latin America on March 4 before rolling out in more countries throughout the year.
It will be an expansion and rebrand of CBS All Access, the service the company currently offers that is used by nearly 8 million subscribers. Paramount+ will go beyond the CBS-centric content promoted there, including works from brands like Nickelodeon, MTV, BET, Comedy Central, and the Smithsonian Channel.
More details about their streaming strategy will be released during an investor event on February 24. Right now, ViacomCBS is boasting that the service will have over 30,000 episodes and movies in their catalog, which will also include live sports and breaking news.
“The Paramount brand is known and loved all around the world, and is synonymous with great entertainment. It’s always brought people together, which makes it a perfect fit for a streaming service that’s uniquely positioned to do the same,” Josh Line the chief brand officer of ViacomCBS said during a brand announcement in September. “The Paramount+ streaming service will elevate ViacomCBS’ iconic family of brands.”
State of the Streaming Wars
Paramount+ has already announced a slew of original projects including a revival of “iCarly” and a series about the making of “The Godfather” titled “The Offer.”
The service is entering an already crowded battlefield as the streaming wars wages on. It will have plenty of uphill battles to fight since brand recognition for Paramount is not nearly as strong as it is for studios like Disney or NBCUniversal. It will also have to compete with Netflix, which leads the pack in subscribers and unveils new content regularly; HBO Max, which will be home to Warner Media’s new theatrical releases; and Hulu, which hosts original content as well as shows currently airing on cable and network television.
ViacomCBS has not released information on pricing, but that will likely come during or before the February investor event.