Underage Social Media Stars Sue Former Manager for Sexual Assault
A group of 11 teen and preteen social media influencers have filed a lawsuit and are seeking a minimum of nearly $2 million in compensatory and punitive damages against their former manager Tiffany Rockelle Smith, her boyfriend Hunter Hill, and their business Piper Rockelle Inc., alleging a number of actions, including battery and sexual assault.
The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in California Superior Court by The Dhillon Law Group, representing the plaintiffs, ranging from age 10-16, who have a combined 8.8 million YouTube subscribers. Smith is the mother of YouTube sensation Piper Rockelle.
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs allege the defendants of “unjust enrichment, sexual battery, civil conspiracy, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, violation of common law right of publicity, intentional interference with contractual relations, intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, violation of California civil code 3344, and violation of California business code 17200, Et Seq.”
“Over a span of several years from 2017-2020, Plaintiffs collectively participated in creating content and being cast in hundreds of videos for Piper’s YouTube channel, all while suffering from emotional, verbal, physical, and at times, sexual abuse by Piper’s mother and producer—Defendant Ms. Smith,” the lawsuit states.
The plaintiffs demand a jury trial.
Among the allegations, according to The Dhillon Law Group:
• “Smith inappropriately touched Plaintiff Claire E. on numerous occasions, including rubbing her exposed thighs and moving her hand toward her vagina, constantly spanking and/or slapping her buttocks, sticking her finger/poking her anus over her clothing when she walked by Smith, commenting on how ‘big’ Claire E.’s breasts looked and then attempting to squeeze them, and on one occasion, taking a wooden spoon and smacking it all over Claire E.’s body.”
• “Smith would often boast to Plaintiffs and others about being the ‘Madam of YouTube’ and a ‘Pimp of YouTube’ and that she ‘makes kiddie porn.’”
• “Smith would frequently assume an alter-ego ‘Lenny the Dead Cat’ and chase Plaintiffs around her house shouting obscene and sexually graphic phrases such as: I’m going to f*** you up the ass; I’m going to touch you in your sleep; Yeah mama/little boy/little girl, let’s make out, let’s kiss.”
• “After leaving the ‘Squad’, Smith collaborated with a YouTube employee to sabotage plaintiffs YouTube channels, resulting in dramatic decline of views valued at $2 million in lost revenue.”
The complaint in its entirety can be read here.
“These kids have been taken advantage of financially and in some cases physically and sexually abused,” plaintiffs’ attorney Matthew Sarelson said in a statement. “This lawsuit seeks to remedy the egregious conduct of Piper’s handlers. YouTube has created an enormous opportunity to create wealth, but there’s always going to be people gaming the system to harm competitors. Our clients are just kids. They’re good kids with big futures. A part of their childhood, a part of their innocence, has been stolen.”
Representatives for Piper Rockelle didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from TheWrap.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.
Underage Social Media Influencers Sue Former Manager for Sexual Assault, Civil Conspiracy and More