YouTube Influencers v. Piper Rockelle Inc.
Popular Social Media Creators Sue Former Manager for Sexual Battery, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Civil Conspiracy, and more.
Los Angeles — The Dhillon Law Group (@dhillonlaw), on behalf of its pre-teen and teenage social media influencer clients, which have a combined 8.8 million YouTube subscribers, filed a lawsuit seeking several millions of dollars in economic and non-economic damages in California Superior Court against their former manager Tiffany Rockelle Smith (mother to 14-year old Piper Rockelle, 8.85 million subscribers), Hunter Hill, and their business Piper Rockelle Inc. alleging a litany of egregious actions against the plaintiffs, including physical and sexual assault.
The plaintiffs are 15-year old “Sawyer Sharbino” (1.29 million subscribers), 15-year old “DONLAD” (599,000 subscribers), 16-year old Ayden Mekus (1.52 million subscribers), 16-year old “Connor Cain” (270,000 subscribers), 14-year old “Hayden Haas” (511,000 subscribers), 15-year old “Walker Bryant” (897,000 subscribers), 14-year old “Sophie Fergi” (1.61 million subscribers), 14-year old “Corinne Joy” (93,800 subscribers), 15-year old “Symonne Harrison” (1.17 million subscribers), and sisters 13-year old “Claire RockSmith” and 10-year old “Reese RockSmith” (895,000 subscribers). The lawsuit alleges the defendants committed 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. “These kids have been taken advantage of financially and in some cases physically and sexually abused,” said Dhillon Law Group partner, Matthew Sarelson (@MSarelson). “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.”
Some highlights of the numerous egregious actions by Smith:
- 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 also tried to spit in Claire E.’s mouth and on her face one time when Smith was on top of her after Claire E. woke up in the morning. (PG. 14)
- 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.” (Pg. 13)
- 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. (Pg. 11-12)
- Corinne D. accompanied Smith to the local Post Office where Smith mailed out several of Piper’s soiled training bras and panties to an unknown individual. Smith remarked to Corinne D. that “old men like to smell this stuff.” (pg. 14)
- Smith would frequently spank and/or otherwise slap several of Plaintiffs’ buttocks and also attempt to (and occasionally succeed in) “probing” and/or otherwise “sticking a finger” in Plaintiffs’ butts as they passed by her on or off set. (pg. 15)
- 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. (Pg. 15-24)
How many kids like Piper Rockelle are being exploited by their parents? And at what point do the rest of us say … “this isn’t okay for a 13 yr old to be posing in a bikini whilst her MOTHER takes the photo?!?!”