11 children sue YouTuber’s mother, alleging abuse, exploitation
- Eleven former members of Piper Rockelle’s “Piper Squad” are suing the teenager’s mother.
- The defendants are charged with physical, emotional, verbal and sexual abuse, according to the suit.
- The lawsuit also alleges that Tiffany Smith was sexually inappropriate with children.
According to court documents, eleven children who were previously members of YouTuber Piper Rockelle’s ‘Piper Squad’ are suing the teenage star’s mother and her boyfriend, alleging physical, emotional, verbal and sexual abuse, as well as exploitation financial.
The children filed suit in California Superior Court, Los Angeles County on Wednesday, alleging that Piper’s mother and her boyfriend failed to pay them for video appearances, made sexually explicit comments about them and attempted to sabotage their YouTube channels. after he ceased collaborating with Piper, according to the complaint.
They seek compensatory and punitive damages, the cost of attorneys’ fees, and any other just relief permitted by California law.
Piper is a 14-year-old YouTube star whose channel has over 8.8 million subscribers. Internet critics have questioned the relevance of her content for years, and singer Pink accused her parents of exploiting her in August after Piper posted YouTube videos and Instagram photos in which she posed in a bikini .
Piper’s mother, Tiffany Smith, told Insider she wanted to “protect” her daughter in an emailed statement at the time.
The lawsuit alleges that Piper’s mother gained a reputation within the “Piper Squad” as a “petty control freak” whose actions toward the children were “not only sexually inappropriate and confrontational, but often reprehensible and even illegal.” “.
The lawsuit says Smith “verbally harassed” and yelled at the children if she felt they were doing something wrong in a video. He adds that many of them broke down in tears or were sent home to their families.
Smith and Hunter Hill, her boyfriend, are also accused of failing to pay the child stars for appearances in hundreds of videos for Piper’s YouTube channel, which collectively cover thousands of hours of work, according to the suit. Court documents say Piper’s YouTube channel grew significantly after the other 11 kids started appearing in her videos.
Smith, Hill, Piper and Piper’s manager did not respond to requests for comment.
Matthew Sarelson, the plaintiffs’ attorney, told Insider that “perhaps everything we’ve alleged has been corroborated by other eyewitnesses, including eyewitnesses who are not plaintiffs in this lawsuit.” .
Lawsuit alleges Tiffany Smith was sexually inappropriate with children
This lawsuit alleges that Smith made “extremely offensive and sexually explicit comments” to children and accuses him of asking a child if he thought another child “had a bunch of freckles on his dick”. .
“The plaintiffs frequently heard Ms. Smith refer to the penis of another squad member ‘Dwayne the Rock Hard Johnson,'” the lawsuit states.
The complaint alleges that a girl accompanied Smith when she went to the post office to send Piper’s used underwear to “a stranger” and remarked to the girl that “old men like to smell that stuff. “.
The lawsuit says Smith frequently paired the children up as pseudo “crushes” for video content purposes and alleges she gave them “very sexually explicit instructions” on how to act around each other and what what to wear in front of the camera. He alleges girls had to wear “short skirts and low-cut tops” and boys had to wear “tight jeans” or sweatpants to show off their “bulges”.
“Ms. Smith often bragged to plaintiffs and others that she was ‘YouTube’s madam’ and a ‘YouTube pimp’ and that she ‘does child porn,'” the lawsuit states.
Smith is accused in the lawsuit of inappropriately touching several young girls on their legs, spanking them and shoving “the anuses through their clothes”.
The suit also accuses Smith of rubbing a girl’s “exposed thighs and moving her hand to her vagina” on multiple occasions, as well as commenting on the size of her breasts and “attempting to tighten them”.
The complaint alleges that she attempted to “spit” in the same girl’s “mouth and face” and accuses her of “taking up a wooden spoon and hitting” her body with it.
Sarelson said “there is a very high probability that some of the things were filmed” because there are “possibly thousands of hours, collectively, of videotapes that were made in the process of production”.
Sarelson added that they expected to have access to the cameras during the trial discovery process.
Smith and Hill ‘tanked’ other chains, lawsuit claims
The lawsuit says Smith and Hill engaged in “a variety of dirty tactics” against plaintiffs’ YouTube channels after leaving Piper Squad.
He alleges that these tactics included using “bots” to add and remove subscribers to affect their positions in YouTube’s recommendation algorithm, falsely flagging their videos as “inappropriate” and embedding some of their videos on porn sites to have their videos restricted on YouTube.
Smith is also accused in the document of often telling Hill to “tank” plaintiffs’ YouTube channels. As a result of the interference, according to the suit, the plaintiffs lost a large number of subscribers and viewers, as well as a large amount of revenue.
The lawsuit also says the plaintiffs all immediately experienced a significant drop in subscribers, views, and revenue upon leaving the team.
“When you look at the analytics provided by YouTube,” Sarelson said, “there is a demonstrable drop in viewership and subscriptions, which ultimately translates into less revenue for our customers once they opt out. of the team.”
The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and special damages in an amount no less than what they say they collectively lost in income after leaving the team, which the suit says is at least $2 million. . They are also seeking punitive damages and damages for allegations of severe emotional distress, heartbreak and humiliation.