Playboy playmate Dani Mathers pleaded no contest on Wednesday in a body shaming case brought against her by the city of Los Angeles. She will serve 30 days of community labor, according to Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer.
Mathers, 29, was charged with one count of invasion of privacy and was facing trial for allegedly photographing an elderly woman in the shower area of her gym and posting it with a mocking caption on Snapchat.
The Playboy model is accused of secretly photographing a 71-year-old nude woman in the shower area of her L.A. Fitness gym and then posting it with the caption, “If I can’t unsee this then you can’t either” via Snapchat.
The case played into the passing of an anti-body-shaming bill in the California State Senate this week (SB 784-Crimes: disorderly conduct: invasion of privacy). “The bill provides that if you take a photo of someone in these circumstances without their permission — someone who is nude or partially clothed — and then distribute it, the penalty is enhanced by $1,000 and the individual whose photo was taken is entitled to restitution in an amount necessary to get that picture off the internet and out of public distribution,” wrote Feuer in a Wednesday statement following Mathers’ court date. “That’s crucial, because every day that picture lives online is another day of humiliation. I am optimistic this bill will soon be enacted and further protect Californians from body shaming.”
“This was a very important case to me – as a father, as a son, as someone who recognizes the damage that body shaming can do because it is so humiliating,” Feuer added. “The issues that surround body shaming can be devastating – not only to daughters and mothers, but also to sons and fathers, members of the LGBTQ community, to a trans kid who might be struggling with identity, to people who are disabled. The message today is clear: body shaming is not tolerated in the City of Los Angeles.”
State Sen. Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton) also weighed in: “This country has a growing problem of bullying through body-shaming on social media that needs to be addressed.” She then addressed Mathers’ case directly: “Having a photo taken of you in a fitting room or locker room when you have a reasonable expectation of privacy is humiliating in and of itself — but when that photo is then shared across social media the victim can experience long-term harm and embarrassment. This type of behavior is destructive and Senate Bill 784 will make sure our laws keep pace with the ever changing social media environment. As the Mathers case has demonstrated, this legislation is an important step to protecting the privacy of Californians.”
Since allegedly posting the photo in July, Mathers has been banned from L.A. Fitness gyms and fired from her gig at Los Angeles radio station KLOS, where she appeared as a regular on the station’s morning show.
In November, Mathers was charged with one count of invasion of privacy, which carries a sentence of up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
In February, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office scoffed at Mathers’ request to have her sentence deferred, stating that Mathers “does not qualify nor merit such leniency.”
The city attorney cited Mathers’ perceived lack of remorse in its argument.
“Defendant petitions the court for diversion … however, she does not qualify nor merit such leniency. Her post-crime behavior is indicative of the fact that Defendant has never shown remorse for her behavior and therefore she should face the consequences of her cruel and criminal act,” the city attorney contended.
Earlier this month, a judge denied both Mathers’ motion to dismiss the charges and her motion to continue, a representative for the Los Angeles City Attorney told TheWrap on Monday.
Mathers had contended that the law she was charged with violating is too ambiguous to pass constitutional muster, the New York Daily News reported.
According to the city attorney’s office, the next court date in the case is set for May 24.
Tim Kenneally contributed to this report.