By NYAH TENNELL
Dani Mathers, Playboy’s 2015 Playmate of the Year, has been fired from her job, banned from all LA Fitness gyms and is now being hit with legal penalties after posting a nude locker room photo of a stranger to her Snapchat account.
Mathers is being accused of posting a photo of a naked 70-year-old woman in the shower area of a Los Angeles fitness center, with the caption, “If I cant unsee this then you can’t either,” sparking immediate backlash and, on Friday, criminal charges.
Yes that is right, Los Angeles city prosecutors have charged Mathers with a misdemeanor invasion of privacy, with the Los Angeles Times calling it a “pioneering prosecution against body-shaming.”
An article appearing in the Washington Post on July 18 written by Rachel Premack outlined the legalities of the case, noting the act is illegal under California law. A 2014 revised section of the California penal code notes that it is a misdemeanor to look “with the intent to invade the privacy of a person” into places like a changing room, where a person has “a reasonable expectation of privacy,” with a camera. Under this law, it’s illegal generally to distribute an image of the “intimate body part or parts” of another person “without the consent of or knowledge of that other person.”
As a result, Mathers has been banned from all LA Fitness centers across the United States, and has been indefinitely suspended from her job as a host on “The Heidi and Frank Show” on 95.5 KLOS in Los Angeles, TMZ reported.
Phil McCausland of NBC News, stated that the case could send “legal shockwaves,” noting that this is one of the first times someone has been criminally charged for a body-shaming social media post.
While body-shaming in itself is not a crime, it is important to note that there are circumstances in which invading or violating ones privacy to do so can be deemed as a crime.
In the midst of the social media frenzy, Dani Mathers issued a public apology via her Twitter account, saying, “I’m sorry for what I did … I need to take some time to myself now to reflect on why I did this horrible thing.”
Whether sincere or not, courts do not recognize apologies and, according to NBC News, if convicted, Mathers could face up to six months of jail time and a $1,000 fine.
The arraignment is schedule for Nov. 28.