Former model Courtney Stodden weighed in on 14-year-old YouTuber's bikini-photo controversy, saying kids need protecting from 'digital grooming'

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Courtney Stodden Piper Rockelle
Courtney Stodden said children have trouble separating online attention and "predatory behavior from adults." Amanda Edwards/Getty Images; Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images
  • Courtney Stodden posted about the controversy surrounding 14-year-old YouTuber Piper Rockelle.

  • Pink suggested Rockelle was being "exploited" after she posted photos of herself in swimwear.

  • Stodden said children have trouble separating online attention and "predatory behavior from adults."

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Former model and reality TV star Courtney Stodden has appeared to publicly support singer Pink in criticizing 14-year-old YouTuber Piper Rockelle's parents for allowing her to post bikini photos of herself.

Pink, whose real name is Alecia Beth Moore, called out Rockelle's parents on Twitter on Sunday for permitting their daughter to pose in a bikini. She asked her 31.6 million followers, "How many kids like Piper Rockelle are being exploited by their parents?"

The bio on Rockelle's Instagram page, which has over 4.8 million followers, says "managed by Family."

In an Instagram post on Tuesday, Stodden, who says they were groomed as a child, said children have trouble separating online attention and "predatory behavior from adults."

"It's our responsibility as a society to step up and protect our kids as much as we can from falling victim to this cycle of digital grooming," they said. "As adults, we can see what they can't."

Stodden tagged Moore in the post, and added the hashtags #piperrockelle and #pink.

Rockelle told Insider in a statement she does not see anything wrong with teenagers wearing bikinis, and added, "They're only sexual if you view us that way." Her mother, Tiffany Rockelle, said in an emailed statement she's here to protect her daughter and "would do anything for her."

Related video: Teens would rather break their bones than lose their phones

On Twitter, people have had mixed reactions to the controversy. Many agreed with Pink and thanked her for speaking out about the situation while others, including a musician and influencer describing himself as an ex-boyfriend of Piper's, said Pink's point was off base.

Stodden, who came out as non-binary this year and uses they/them pronouns, has been a vocal advocate for young people in recent years. In 2011, when they were 16, they married actor Dough Hutchison, who was 51. They referred to Hutchison as a "groomer" and "predator" in an interview with The Daily Beast in June this year.

Stodden said it took them a long time to realize what "grooming" meant, but "as I grew into a woman, I started realizing what happened to me."

"It took me a really, really long time to understand what happened to me, and I'm still going through the repercussions of being groomed," they said.

Kieran Press-Reynolds contributing to this reporting.

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