LOS ANGELES - A former Playboy Playmate accused of secretly photographing a 70-year-old woman naked at a Los Angeles-area gym and sharing the picture on social media with a disparaging message has been charged in the case, the L.A. City Attorney's Office announced Friday.
Dani Mathers, 29, was charged with a count of invasion of privacy, the agency said in a news release. She faces up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted in the case.
"Body shaming is humiliating, with often painful, long-term consequences. It mocks and stigmatizes its victims, tearing down self-respect and perpetuating the harmful idea that our unique physical appearances should be compared to air-brushed notions of 'perfect.' What really matters is our character and humanity," City Attorney Mike Feuer said in the release.
He continued: "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."
The case stems from a Snapchat the 2015 Playboy Playmate of the Year allegedly sent in July of a naked woman inside an LA Fitness gym locker room that included the caption, “If I can’t unsee this then you can’t either.” Mathers is accused of snapping the photo surreptitiously with a cellphone camera.
In response to the picture, her membership to all LA Fitness gyms was permanently revoked, the health club said.
The social media post prompted a firestorm of criticism against the Playboy model, and Mathers publicly apologized for sharing the photo a short time after the incident, calling it an "accident."
Tom Mesereau, the attorney representing Mathers, called the charges "disappointing."
“I’m disappointed that Dani Mathers was charged with any violation," Mesereau told KTLA. "She never intended to violate anyone’s privacy and never intend to break the law at any time.”