Internet users are dissatisfied with how the most recent development in the ongoing coverage of Colleen Ballinger’s cancellation has been reported on.
Both r/ColleenBallingerSnark and X users have taken to social media to discuss whether Oliver and his experiences with the mega-YouTuber’s brother, Trent Ballinger, have been appropriately highlighted since the news of Colleen’s manipulation and grooming allegations came to light.
ICYMI, Oliver shared a lengthy Twitter thread on June 8th with multiple screenshots of alleged messages sent to them from Trent when they were 13-14 years old and he was in his 30s.
Oliver now uses they/he pronouns but was using she/her at the time of the messages.
Throughout their conversations, Trent discussed Oliver’s sexual orientation, got possessive over the minor, and even gave Ollie the nickname “peapod.” He guilted Oliver over the prospect of them forgetting about him one day. On more than one occasion, he appeared very concerned over Oliver labelling themselves as bisexual and gay.
Trent often called Oliver “cute” and “pretty”, told them multiple times to visit him, and asked Oliver to send a “special video” just for him. In one message, he told Oliver that they would “look good” pregnant and on Oliver’s 14th birthday, Trent wrote, “4 more years and ur 18.”
At the time of publication, Oliver’s thread has amassed over 2.6 million views and over 8k likes.
Since uploading the thread, Oliver has spoken to several YouTube commentary creators, including Vangelina Skov and Spankie Valentine (who goes by Swoop on YouTube). He also appeared as a guest on the H3 podcast as part of their coverage of the Colleen cancellation.
Most recently, Colleen’s sister-in-law, Jessica Ballinger, has addressed Ollie’s allegations against her brother-in-law. Taking to the Ballinger Family vlog channel, the mother-of-six responded to a series of comments on their most recent video about the allegations that her husband’s brother fostered an inappropriate relationship with Ollie.
“I absolutely support anyone with incriminating info to bring it to authorities,” she wrote in the comment section of a video titled ‘Hollywood, Here I Come! ‘. “There is personal nuance as to his level of developmental delay (which he has always kept private, but it is much more than is known publicly & I feel awful for sharing even that)”.
Jessica went on to write that Trent is “not someone that I have had contact with or will have my kids have contact with since learning about his behaviour several months ago.”
She finished by saying that she is “sad for Ollie” and admitted they “shouldn’t have had that emotional burden at that age.”
Even though Ollie has been one of the most vocal former fans speaking against the Ballingers, there is a growing perception among internet users that his story has not received the level of attention it deserves. Many have cited Swoop’s four-part documentary on the cancellation, where Oliver was mentioned but not given a substantial spotlight.
In a recent video on Swoop’s new second channel, Swoop Too, the creator revealed that she did, in fact, interview Oliver for her documentary. However, Swoop explained that upon discovering Johnny Silvestri’s lies about Colleen’s ex-husband, Joshua David Evans, she felt it was necessary to shift the focus and direction of her coverage.
“I actually conducted an interview with Oliver that we never got to air because of John’s mess,” Swoop admits. “Even my segment discussing Trent in my interview with Joshua had to be cut because we didn’t have time to fully investigate Trent the way we needed to before presenting any of that…”
Earlier this week, Oliver came forward on X and Reddit to reflect on how their story has been handled publicly. They also expressed their intention to create a video discussing their experiences with Trent.
“In this whole trent situation one of the things i’ve hated the most is so many people speaking for me and it being incorrect… it’s starting to really frustrate me again,” he shared.
Swoop later quoted Oliver’s tweet clarifying that after their interview, she intended to provide him with the freedom to share his story in his own words. In the now-deleted post, she said that she did not want to contribute to the misrepresentation of his narrative by others.
Oliver then clarified that they were not referencing their allegations against Trent but rather their experiences with Johnny specifically.
Even though Swoop admitted to the misunderstanding, internet users remain disappointed by her decision not to share her interview with Oliver.
Reddit users have voiced their criticism on the r/ColleenBallingerSnark subreddit, questioning Swoop’s decision to platform Johnny and Adam McIntyre in her videos, speculating that it might be due to their larger followings. With this in mind, many believe Swoop shifted her focus to Johnny due to the more “sensationalised” nature of the story.
“I think the honest answer is that the Johnny situation was a far more juicier story,” one Reddit user wrote. “She had her moment to catch someone in the lie AND for a minute she became part of the biggest story of YouTube drama of the summer.”
“I think it’s pretty slimy to do an entire interview with a trauma and grooming victim and then decide that it isn’t worth the time of day to edit and upload it after promising it,” another user shared. “I get why she thought she shouldn’t upload it, but after Ollie clarified, I think Swoop should’ve still posted it.”
Meanwhile, other social media users have come to Swoop’s defence, emphasising that the internet should refrain from pressuring the creator.
They point out that covering Colleen’s cancellation might be triggering for Swoop, especially considering she is a survivor of grooming herself. Many of these users, with Joshua David Evans among them, have highlighted that Swoop’s intentions are well-meaning and that she shouldn’t be subjected to this degree of criticism.
“Swoop’s track record makes it clear that she’s deeply committed to the stories she presents. Her team consistently shows a high level of empathy for both their viewers and the victims touched by their content,” Joshua writes in a Tweet. “Sometimes decisions are made behind the scenes due to factors or concerns that need to remain private.”
Two days ago, Swoop and Oliver posted on X, revealing that they had a private discussion about the situation. They also urged their followers to ease the hate.
“Guys, PLEASE be nice to swoop. we had a miscommunication we have now cleared up,” Ollie writes. “in addition to that, there have been a lot of things going on behind the scenes that aren’t shared publicly but if you did know everything i think you would understand. please extend grace to her.”
Swoop added that she spoke with Ollie for three hours and stated, “Survivors do not need to be pitted against each other.”
As the conversation winds down, the back-and-forth online has spotlighted how commentary creators platform specific stories— many of which may not represent every aspect of a situation. That said, internet users have taken Swoop’s decision to exclude Oliver’s interview as proof that sensationalised stories are prioritised when an influencer is cancelled, or internet drama breaks out.
While it’s safe to assume that there were personal reasons behind Swoop’s decision, the situation serves as a timely reminder of how important stories can sometimes be overlooked during a situation as complex as Colleen’s.
Oliver has not yet uploaded his video about Trent at the time of publication.