Dani Mathers is a former Playboy Playmate who shared an LA Fitness photo publicly on Snapchat only to face a huge backlash. The porn star may have been made famous by Hugh Hefner, but she landed in hot water since she was body shaming a naked elderly woman who was using the LA Fitness showers. Officials investigated, and the victim of the fat-shaming demanded that Mathers face justice: which could have involved a maximum of six months in jail!
The story starts in the fall of 2016 when Mathers was apparently at her local LA Fitness gym. She took a Snapchat photo of a naked 70-year-old woman from afar and captioned the pic to all her followers with the message, “If I can’t unsee this then you can’t either.” The naked photo quickly went viral, and many of Mathers’ Twitter followers attacked her for body-shaming the elderly lady. Some went so far as to demand that the LAPD arrest the 2015 Playmate of the Year.
“I’ve chosen to do what I do for a living because I love the female body and I know that body-shaming is wrong and it’s not what I am about,” Mathers said in a Snapchat apology. “It’s not the type of person I am.”
In a video, Dani Mathers’ LA Fitness photo was explained away as a mistake. Dani claimed she was relatively new to Snapchat and did not properly know how to use the popular social media app. Apparently, Mathers had intended on sending a direct message to a friend, but she accidentally sent out a public message. Her fans did not accept this explanation, and eventually, the ex-Playboy Playmate was forced to delete her Twitter account over the outcry.
“There is no excuse,” Mathers said in her video apology. “I understand fully the magnitude of this post that I have hurt a lot of people, women. Body shaming is not okay…and not something to joke about.”
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LA Fitness officials were appalled at the message attached to the naked photo since they desire that their gyms be a place where people don’t make others feel bad for their current bodies. On top of that, LA Fitness said she broke the rules of “common decency” since she used a smartphone to take a photo in the locker room.
“Her behavior is appalling and puts every member’s privacy at risk. We have handled this internally and also notified the police,” an LA Fitness spokesperson said at the time. “[She] is not permitted back at any club, ever.”
The controversy resulted in Mathers being suspended from her job, a gig on the Heidi and Frank radio show on KLOS 95.5. The incident was reported to the Los Angeles Police Department and they began an investigation. The victim in the case was a 70-year-old woman and she wanted Mathers to legally pay for taking the nude photo and making it public. The case was serious since the ex-Playboy Playmate potentially faced six months in jail for Dissemination of Private Images, a misdemeanor charge.
The LA County prosecutors office eventually filed criminal charges against Mathers, charging her with one misdemeanor count of invasion of privacy. The criminal case was unique since in most cases the naked photos were taken in locker rooms and bathrooms for “prurient” reasons, not for the purpose of body-shaming someone. LA attorney Leonard Levine explained that similar criminal cases usually involved “lascivious intent” and the “aspect of the shaming is a very unusual motive that I have not seen prosecuted before.”
“While body-shaming, in itself, is not a crime, there are circumstances in which invading one’s privacy to accomplish it can be. And we shouldn’t tolerate that,” said L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer at the time.
In response to the criminal charges, Dani hired Tom Mesereau, the celebrity attorney who gained fame when he helped Michael Jackson in the 2005 child molestation trial. The case took almost a year to wind its way through the courts but today it was announced that the Playboy Playmate plead “nolo contendere” to the misdemeanor charge of invasion of privacy, which means she has accepted the conviction as though a guilty plea had been entered but does not admit guilt.
— Eat My News (@EatMyNewsCo) November 5, 2016
According to KFOR, Dani Mathers’ LA Fitness photo scandal ended with her being sentenced to three years probation and ordered to complete 30 hours of graffiti removal service. By entering the no contest plea, she avoided going to trial, which could have led to jail time.
“The message today is clear: body shaming is not tolerated in the City of Los Angeles,” Feuer said in a news conference. “That’s crucial, because every day that picture lives online is another day of humiliation.”
Mesereau said the former Playboy model had apologized “from the bottom of her heart for what happened.” The lawyer says Dan Mathers “never thought this would come out like this” and that she “never intended to hurt anyone.”
[Featured Image by Charley Gallay/Getty Images]