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Colleen Ballinger under fire again after older video of her performing with a painted face resurfaces

An attorney for Ballinger told NBC News Thursday that the face paint in the resurfaced video performance was green, not black, as many online suggested.
Colleen Ballinger arrives at the "Wonder Park" Los Angeles Premiere held at the Regency Village Theatre in Westwood, CA on Sunday, March 10, 2019.
Colleen Ballinger, pictured in Westwood, Calif., in 2019, got backlash Wednesday after a video of an older performance resurfaced.Sthanlee B. Mirador / Sipa USA via AP file

The online backlash toward Colleen Ballinger continued to escalate Wednesday after a Twitter user went viral for resurfacing old video of the YouTube star performing to Beyoncé's “Single Ladies” in face paint that people said looked like blackface.

In an email statement on Thursday, the law firm Berk Brettler, which represents Ballinger, told NBC News that she was wearing green face paint during the performance.

The firm provided a longer video of the performance, which shows Ballinger performing the song “As Long As You’re Mine” from “Wicked” with Oliver Tompsett, a star from the show. Ballinger had painted her face green, like the witch Elphaba from the musical.

"She painted her face green like the witch. After that number, she went right into Single Ladies (while still wearing the green makeup). At that time, she closed all her shows with that Beyoncé number — it was one of her most popular bits," the law firm said.

The video clip that went viral shows Ballinger, who is known for her satirical online persona, Miranda Sings, in a black leotard singing off-key to the song while awkwardly dancing barefoot onstage with two backup singers. Her face has paint smeared on it. Some online correctly suggested the paint is actually green. Others expressed outrage, convinced it was blackface. There were also those who said that regardless of the color, “she should have known better than to do something that could even be potentially misconstrued that way.”

A representative for Ballinger did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.  

The video of the "Single Ladies" performance was first shared in February 2018 on Ballinger’s Miranda Sings YouTube channel, which has 10.7 million subscribers. It remains viewable but is unlisted, and it doesn’t show what was performed onstage before or after “Single Ladies.”

By Wednesday evening, “Blackface” was trending across Twitter.

Paige Christie, the social media influencer who posted the video, wrote in the caption, “I’m gonna need someone to explain the black on her face …”

Christie and other viewers suggested the performance was posted as an unlisted YouTube link available to those who purchased her 2018 “My Diarrhe” and who scanned a QR code that was shared below text that reads “some of my west end preformenses.”  

NBC News was unable to confirm whether the book featured a QR code to the unlisted YouTube link. 

It’s the latest controversy surrounding Ballinger, 36, who is considered one of YouTube’s original stars. She has amassed more than 22 million subscribers across different YouTube channels. She also had a Netflix show that ran two seasons, and a comedy special is available to stream on the platform. 

In the past few weeks, Ballinger has faced a wave of backlash following allegations that she engaged in inappropriate and exploitive relationships with underage fans.

In 2020, allegations about Ballinger’s behavior were made public when YouTuber Adam McIntyre made a video claiming she formed an inappropriate personal friendship with him when he was 13 to 16 years old, which included her sending him lingerie as a joke. She responded to some of McIntyre’s allegations in a video titled “addressing everything.”

Last month, McIntyre’s allegations resurfaced when KodeeRants, another YouTube creator, made a video alleging that Ballinger privately shared screenshots of messages with McIntyre in a group chat called “Colleeny’s Weenies.” KodeeRants has deleted the videos. In the purported screenshots, Ballinger asks about the group’s “favorite position” and suggests McIntyre include a question in a “Q&A” on his channel about whether or not the then-teen was a virgin. 

Last week, Ballinger shared a video titled “hi,” featuring her singing an original song in which she addresses the accusations. In the 10-minute video, she strums on a ukulele and addresses what she calls “the facts."

“A lot of people are saying some things about me that aren’t quite true. Doesn’t matter if it’s true, though, just as long as it’s entertaining to you, right?” Ballinger sings in the video, which was posted to her Colleen Vlogs channel.

In 2020, Ballinger issued an apology after an older video in which she and her sister pretend to be Latinx women resurfaced, E! News reported. She said she deleted the video because they didn’t want anyone to be “hurt” by it.

“It is not funny, and it is completely hurtful. I am so ashamed and embarrassed that I ever thought this was okay,” she said at the time, according to E!. “I was a sheltered teenager who was stupid and ignorant and clearly extremely culturally insensitive.” 

Ballinger is on a Miranda Sings tour, which runs through the fall.