Jojo Siwa spoke out for the first time to address the grooming allegations against fellow YouTube star Colleen Ballinger on Howie Mandel’s podcast. The Dance Moms alum, 20, defended Colleen, 36, and spoke about her own friendship with the internet star in the interview, posted on Tuesday, Sep. 12. “I’ve known Colleen since I was 12,” Jojo said as she recounted her own connection with the YouTuber. “She’s always been nothing but kind to me. Her family [was] nothing but kind to me.”
Colleen is a YouTuber, most well-known for creating the Miranda Sings character. She was accused of grooming and acting inappropriately with underage fans in June 2023, per Dexerto. Amid backlash following the allegations, the YouTuber posted a video of herself singing and playing the ukulele, where she denied the grooming accusations. While she did admit to some wrongdoing in responding to fans in the clip, she did refer to many of the allegations as “toxic gossip.”
Jojo noted that she had filmed many videos with Colleen, and she described the YouTuber as someone she “idolized” for her work. She complimented her work as a YouTuber, before addressing some of the controversy about the content of her comedy. “I think the work that Colleen has done for the internet is incredible. I think her creativity is incredible. Miranda Sings is a character, is a comedian,” she said. “I think that it’s very hard to be a character where people are also looking at you as you’re a real human behind that character, and I think being a comedian is very hard, because you were able to do things years ago that were okay, and now that we’ve grown and we’ve matured, we’ve realized that they’re not okay.”
When Howie asked Jojo about her relationship with Colleen and the allegations, she defended her friend. “The internet can take a lie and run so far with it. So far that, it’s to the point where you just can’t do anything about it, and I’ve had that happen to me,” she said.
When addressing the aspects of speaking to underage fans, Jojo did concede, “You’ve got to be careful to not blur a friend/fan line.” As Howie asked about her feelings about the allegations and if she thought it was a “lie,” the YouTuber said that she knows “a lot of people on the internet who have gotten hit with this cancellation,” and tiptoed in her response. “I see that this is a sensitive subject. Somebody who is affected by anything having to do with adults,” she said. “For real grooming, it’s a very sensitive thing.”
Despite saying that it was a “sensitive subject,” Jojo did suggest that many of the allegations brought against Colleen were “lies” towards the end of the clip. “The internet was able to capitalize off of her cancellation, and they still are,” she said. “It’s not okay, because a lot of it is based off of lies.”