National Law Firm to Go Head-to-Head with TikTok's The Hype House After Allegations of Influencer's Sexual Conduct with Minors
IRVINE, Calif., Jan. 8, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP, (MWA) – a law firm specializing in complex and groundbreaking litigation – has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against the popular social media group The Hype House LLC on behalf of two plaintiffs who have made claims of experiencing sexual contact as minors with one of the group's biggest celebrities, Tony Lopez.
The Hype House is a social media group of 20 internet content creators living together in a Los Angeles mansion where they also make videos for their social media following of almost 20 million strong. Among those living in the "collab house" are Hype House Founders Chase Hudson and Thomas Petrou. Tony Lopez, the main defendant in question, lived in the mansion previously, but has since moved out. Lopez is a TikTok star, Instagram influencer, and all-around social media giant with over 23 million followers and more than a billion likes across all his platforms. This lawsuit alleges that, while operating out of The Hype House in Los Angeles, Lopez sought out, groomed, and took advantage of multiple underage girls either via sending illicit messages and photos on social media or by having sexual relations with them.
The plaintiffs of this case both attest to being open about their ages with Lopez, but that he never stopped his advances. The complaint makes note of the reports of at least three other young women who were minors victimized by Lopez either in-person or over social media. Thus far, only two have stepped forward for this lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleges that Lopez's modus operandi was to reach out to underage fans via social media and use his status as an internet celebrity, his wealth, and innocuous praise to dazzle his victims. The lawsuit goes on to allege that he would then request their Snapchat username and use Snapchat's disappearing messaging function to send "sexts" – sexual messages or photos – and pressure or coerce the girls to do the same, despite their status as minors. The plaintiffs have also claimed that Lopez had a pattern of inviting underage girls to The Hype House where he would lay the foundation to later sexually harass or assault them.
In February 2020, several Twitter fans began to make claims they were in possession of lewd photos of Lopez, which Lopez later justified as a case of "catfishing" – when an individual creates a fake identity on the internet for the purpose of deceiving others. As more fans came forward, though, a pressured Lopez issued an apology on Twitter in August 2020 stating, "I am not proud of my past choices…I am still new to entertainment / LA scene, and I am quickly learning that you can't believe everything that you are told. Once I found out the truth, I immediately stopped." According to this lawsuit's plaintiffs, he continued his behavior following the February claims.
MWA Partner and head litigator for this case, Michele M. Vercoski says, "Bringing wrong doers and predators to justice is what we do. In cases like these where the nature of the case and identity of the victims is so sensitive, we make it our mission to protect that information above all else. We're here to hold Tony Lopez and the Hype House legally accountable. We also are going to explore whether the corporate sponsors that support Tony Lopez and the Hype House have culpability as well."
Associate Brynna D. Popka adds, "It's our job to not only provide sound legal advice, but to also offer compassionate care during this frightening and tumultuous time. Although it's difficult for so many to come forward after a harrowing experience like this, we encourage anyone who may have been victimized or have knowledge of wrongdoing to reach out to us. It is important to get the full story of what happened before the court."
About McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP: McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP has a deep history of success for its clients, including a $203 million verdict against Wells Fargo Bank, recovery of over $1 billion for its clients, and over 100 contingency cases with recovery of $1 million or more. MWA maintains California offices in Ontario, San Bernardino, Palm Desert, and Irvine and supports its national practice with offices in Illinois and New Jersey. For over 30 years, MWA has successfully represented clients involved in general complex and commercial litigation, as well as personal injury and class action matters. Visit mccunewright.com for more information.
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SOURCE McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP