Rocco Piazza is a young boy from the city of Corona, California, with a big name for himself online. The eight-year-old has managed to build up quite a social media presence; in fact, he’s somewhat of a YouTube star. And it’s all thanks to his video channel, Rocco Piazza Vlogs.
It’s here that Piazza regularly posts videos of himself doing bizarre things. Most of the stunts are funny, and some have an element of danger involved. Previous videos display enticing titles such as “KID STUCK INSIDE 6FT BALLOON” and “KID HEAD INJURY ON SNOWBOARD!”
So with headings like that, it’s no surprise that Piazza’s view counts have been steadily increasing. According to Inside Edition, moreover, his mom, Holly, is the channel’s producer. She’s clearly a driving force behind the project, then, but how well has it been doing exactly?
Well, in fact, the channel currently has over 1,500,000 subscribers. It’s therefore safe to say that young Piazza has become a full-blown internet sensation. However, there was one video in particular that recently thrust him further into the limelight – and it wasn’t for positive reasons.
The clip in question was a daring video involving “Orbeez,” tiny beads that soak up water. Once water is poured onto the colorful gel beads, they grow – sometimes up to 300 times in volume. So, the team behind Rocco Piazza Vlogs decided that Orbeez would be just the thing with which to create a viral video.
Indeed, it wasn’t the first time that Piazza had made a video with Orbeez. He’d previously uploaded a video of himself in an inflatable paddling pool full of them. There was also footage showing him trampolining with thousands of the beads. Tellingly, the clips proved popular, so it seems that it was time to step it up a notch.
The next video was called “DRIVING A TRUCK FILL OF ORBEEZ,” and it showed just that. However, what the title fails to mention is that little Piazza is seen riding in the back of the moving truck among thousands of the colorful beads. He’s not alone, though.
The video shows Piazza and his nanny, Rebecca, lying down in the back of the truck. Startlingly, they are almost completely submerged in the Orbeez. And yet they can be heard laughing hysterically as they slide around the vehicle when it turns around corners.
Neither of them are wearing any type of seat belt, either – making for a particularly dangerous stunt. Indeed, at times, both of the daredevils are seen slipping and sliding towards the sides of the truck. And occasionally, even more worryingly, they appear to narrowly escape tumbling over the edge.
What’s more, at the end of the video something crazy happens. Although the pair are no longer sitting in the back, the side of the truck flies open, sending all of the Orbeez into the street. Thousands of the bright beads pour onto the road, with multiple cars driving nearby.
Unsurprisingly, the video captured the general public’s attention – and not for the right reasons. Unfortunately for the Piazza family, it also caught the attention of the police. Yes, the Piazzas weren’t going to get away with this one without scrutiny.
Online, people went crazy about the stunt. Some people were horrified that an eight-year-old was allowed to ride in the back of the truck with no safety gear. Others were angry about the decision to dump all the beads onto the street.
One YouTube commenter wrote, “Looks like child endangerment to me, not to mention the environmental damage caused. Looks like they will go to any extremes to turn their kid into the next big thing.” But the question was this: could the YouTube star’s mom and stepdad really get into legal trouble for the risky video?
The answer was yes. First of all, the parents were given a fine for littering the street with the beads. However, regarding their son, things became more serious. According to ABC News in March 2017, they were both arrested and charged with “misdemeanor child endangerment.”
And although the parents haven’t been convicted of anything yet, it’s evident that Piazza’s mom, Polly, knew she was in the wrong. At the start of the video she’s clearly heard saying something damning. In fact, her words were “this is probably the first time we’ve done something this illegal.”
As the drama unfolded, meanwhile, in March 2017 Polly also sat down for a video interview with Inside Edition. There, she insisted that she has never put her son in danger and always made him wear protective clothing. Additionally, she admitted something else pretty major.
She said that she knew she’d broken the law by putting her son in the back of the truck. Yet despite admitting the mistake, she maintained that she was “in control” of the truck that day. For some people online, though, this wasn’t deemed good enough. Indeed, one user raised the point that if someone had driven into them, her son and nanny could have been seriously injured.
Still, when her son was asked about the reaction to the video, he had a rather positive outlook. “People love it and people hate it, but it’s just really cool for us,” Piazza told Inside Edition. He may be young, then, but perhaps he already understands the notion that “all publicity is good publicity.”
However, the backlash against his mom is ongoing. “Sounds more like mom is using her son as a way of her gaining popularity… shame, shame,” one YouTube user wrote. Yet whether or not this is true, it seems as though the vilified mom has learned her lesson.
“We’re not gonna do it again. It’s against the law,” she said in her Inside Edition interview. But although the reaction to this video has been harsh, there are no signs that Rocco Piazza Vlogs is slowing down. And as for the legal situation that his parents are in, well, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.