A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of nearly a dozen pre-teen and teenage social media influencers seeking millions of dollars in damages against their former manager, the mother of a noted YouTube figure, alleging sexual battery and failure to fully pay them for their contributions.
The Los Angeles Superior Court complaint was brought Wednesday and names as defendants Tiffany Rockelle Smith, the mother of 14-year old YouTube personality Piper Rockelle; their business Piper Rockelle Inc.; and Hunter Hill, identified in the suit as the 25-year-old live-in boyfriend of the 40- year-old Smith and the primary director, editor and cinematographer of Piper Rockelle’s content for her YouTube channel.
The plaintiffs were never fully compensated for their work, despite the fact that their contributions, including the use of their names, images and likenesses, on Piper’s YouTube channel generated several hundred thousand dollars per month for the defendants, the suit states.
The suit’s allegations include physical and sexual assault, unjust enrichment, sexual battery, civil conspiracy, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, violation of common law right of publicity, intentional interference with contractual relations and intentional interference with prospective economic advantage.
The suit seeks at least $2 million in compensatory damages, plus punitive damages.
A representative for Smith could not be immediately reached.
“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.”
The suit alleges Smith inappropriately touched one female plaintiff often.
Smith many times boasted to the plaintiffs and others that she is the “Madam of YouTube,” according to the filing.
After their alleged experiences with Smith, the plaintiffs left to either focus on building their own YouTube channels, collaborating with each other or other individuals on video content, or exploring and honing other talents such as singing, dancing, social media influencing, entrepreneurship and acting, according to the suit.
City News Service contributed to this report.