Piper Rockelle has exploded in popularity despite Pink saying the 14-year-old YouTuber was 'exploited' in bikini photos, Insider poll finds

·2 min read
Piper Rockelle is seen on March 31, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.
Piper Rockelle is seen on March 31, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Wil R/Star Max/GC Images
  • Piper Rockelle is a 14-year-old YouTube star with 8.3 million subscribers.

  • Her bikini pictures and swimsuit hauls have drawn outrage from figures like Pink.

  • An Insider poll shows Rockelle's popularity is growing more than other influencers.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

14-year-old Piper Rockelle's fanbase is growing as she faces controversy for posing in bikinis. The teen's popularity has risen more than that of any other creator included in a recent poll conducted by Insider and SurveyMonkey.

Rockelle has 8.3 million subscribers on YouTube, where her content includes clothing hauls and vlogs as well as antics with friends - called the "Piper Squad" - and her boyfriends.

While YouTube critics have questioned the appropriateness of the young creator's content for years, the influencer has been facing additional criticism since August 29, when singer Pink claimed that Rockelle was being "exploited" by her parents.

Rockelle's mother told Insider in an emailed statement that she wanted to "protect" her daughter while supporting her passions. Rockelle said she believed Pink had never watched her videos.

"Pictures of teenagers in bikinis having fun are not sexual," Piper told Insider in an emailed statement. "They're only sexual if you view us that way."

Insider and SurveyMonkey polled 1,105 people about how well they knew and liked 99 internet stars. Poll respondents were asked whether they recognized each influencer and whether they had a positive or negative view of them.

Since the beginning of 2021, Rockelle's favorability has grown 15 percentage points, more than any other influencer included in the survey.

Over the course of three separate polling periods, Rockelle climbed from 21.6% favorability in January to 36.8% in August.

The poll findings appear to parallel her YouTube channel's growth. According to Social Blade, a social-media analytics website, Rockelle's channel spiked in subscribers and video views in May after she uploaded a Fashion Nova swimsuit haul video that has nearly 8 million views. The data suggests that Rockelle's channel gets an influx of viewership when she poses in swimsuits.

YouTube removed the thumbnail from that video on September 2 for violating its child safety policy, which prohibits content that endangers the emotional and physical health of minors, including content that sexually exploits minors. The policy also states that content containing mature themes marketed towards young audiences and families is not allowed.

YouTube has not yet confirmed whether other thumbnails that also feature Rockelle in bikinis violate its policy.

SurveyMonkey Audience polls from a national sample balanced by census data of age and gender. Respondents are incentivized to complete surveys through charitable contributions. Generally speaking, digital polling tends to skew toward people with access to the internet. SurveyMonkey Audience doesn't try to weight its sample based on race or income. Polling data collected 1,105 respondents between August 16-17, 2021 with a 3 percentage point margin of error.

Read more stories from Insider's Digital Culture team.

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