QotD: “Playboy model charged over Snapchat of naked woman in gym locker room”

A Playboy model who used social media to shame a woman at her gym was charged with invasion of privacy by the Los Angeles city prosecutor on Friday, just three months after her Snapchat post mocked the 70-year-old.

The charge was filed against Dani Mathers, a 29-year-old model, on Friday afternoon for secretly photographing a naked woman at her gym “with the intent to invade the privacy of that other person”, according to the complaint.

In July Mathers shared the photo with thousands of followers on Snapchat, with the caption: “If I can’t unsee this, then you can’t either.”

Mathers eventually apologized in a video, saying the public posting was accidental: “That was absolutely wrong and not what I meant to do.”

“I know that body shaming is wrong,” she added. “That is not the type of person I am.”

The gym, LA Fitness, revoked her membership and banned her from all its locations. At the time its executive vice-president, Jill Greuling, called Mathers’ actions “appalling” and the gym reported the post to Los Angeles police, who said they began an investigation into “illegal distribution” of the photo.

“While body shaming, in itself, is not a crime,” city attorney Mike Feuer in a statement, “there are circumstances in which invading one’s privacy to accomplish it can be. And we shouldn’t tolerate it”.

“Body shaming is humiliating, with often painful, long-term consequences,” he added. “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’.”

Tom Mesereau, Mathers’ attorney, told the Guardian on Friday that his client never intended to violate privacy law. “I am very disappointed that Dani Mathers was charged with any violation,” he said in a statement. “She never tried to invade anyone’s privacy and never tried to break any law.”

Mathers faces up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for the misdemeanor count of invasion, and she is scheduled for arraignment on 28 November.

Earlier this year a California court ruled that a Snapchat secretly taken of a teenager, apparently masturbating in a bathroom stall, was an illegal invasion of privacy. Civil rights attorneys have largely agreed that, under California law, photography or filming without consent in a bathroom is a violation of the “reasonable expectation of privacy”.

Taking that photograph was “a flagrant violation of privacy law”, explained Danielle Keats Citron, a law professor at the University of Maryland who specializes in privacy and cyber law. “Naked in the bathroom – it’s uncontested.”

(source)

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