A former Playboy playmate charged with secretly taking a photo of a woman at a Los Angeles gym and uploading it to Snapchat, accompanied by an offensive comment, has been sentenced to probation and community service, writes Pam Ryan.
Dani Mather pleaded no contest yesterday.
The 30-year-old will be under probation for three years and must complete 30 days of local graffiti clean-up, a court clerk told NBC News.
Mathers was charged in November with one count of invasion of privacy for the July incident, in which the 2015 Playboy Playmate of the Year snapped a photo of a nude 70-year-old woman and posted it to her Snapchat story with the text: “If I can’t unsee this then you can’t either.”
Her attorney, Thomas Mesereau said: “She really apologises from the bottom of her heart for what happened. She never thought this would come out like this; never intended to hurt anyone.”
Mathers’ post incited critiicism from those who said she was body-shaming the woman.
She deleted the post and apologised, saying that she only meant to send the picture to a friend, rather than share it with her thousands of followers. She said at the time that she took full responsibility for her actions.
Experts said it was one of the first times someone had been criminally charged in connection with body-shaming in a social media post.
“This is a very important case with an extremely forceful message associated with it: That body shaming is not tolerated in our city,” LA City Attorney Mike Feuer said at a news conference after the plea.
I am so upset for this poor woman who's at the gym trying to better herself. 😢 I just wish I could give her a big hug. Hopefully this hasn't turned her and others off going to the gym. I hope people can learn from this girl's mistake. It's time we all supported and uplifted each other – especially us women! Enough with the hate, body shaming and ridiculing others! 😢 I'm sure there are many of you who have been body shamed in some way before and I want you to know that it has NOTHING to do with you. If someone can be so nasty and low they obviously have their own issues they haven't dealt with. I don't believe that bullying and body shaming should be ignored, we need to stand up to it. IT HAS TO STOP. Actions and words REALLY hurt people and destroys lives. Let's show love, kindness, acceptance and support – not hate. X . .
The charge carried a maximum penalty of up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Feuer said that when he heard about the case he was “incredulous” that taking a photo under the circumstances was against the law but distributing it online was not.
He said the state senate recently passed a bill that would make those who share or distribute such photos subject to a fine and restitution to pay for its removal from the internet, and is hopeful the assembley follows suit.
Mathers will also have to pay the victim $60 for a new backpack because she could be recognised by the one featured in the photograph.
“Body-shaming can devastate its subject,” Feuer said. “People are mocked, they’re humiliated and in ways that they can never fully get back.”