Dani Mathers could now be facing jail time for the infamous photo she posted on social media of an elderly woman changing in an LA Fitness locker room.
The former playboy model has been charged with misdemeanor invasion of privacy for the post, which she added to her public Snapchat story in July 2016, The Independent reports. In the image, a 70-year-old woman is naked, and Mathers captioned the image with, “If I can’t unsee this then you can’t either.”
In addition to the criminal charge, Mathers was widely criticized online for body-shaming the woman. She also lost her job as a radio guest for KLOS’ “Heidi and Frank” show and was banned from the LA Fitness gym, according to Jezebel.
She issued an apology in a series of videos, in which she said that posting the image was “wrong.”
“I just wanted to acknowledge a photo that I accidentally posted on Snapchat earlier today and let you guys know that that was absolutely wrong, and not what I meant to do,” said Mathers. “I have chosen to do what I do for a living because I love the female body and I know that body shaming is wrong and that’s not what I’m about, that’s not the type of person that I am.”
She also said that her inexperience with Snapchat led to her posting the image publicly.
“That photo was taken to be a personal conversation with a girlfriend, and because I am new to Snapchat, I didn’t realize that I had posted it and that was a huge mistake,” she said.
She attempted to get out of a trial by arguing that the privacy law that she has been charged with breaking was too vague to be constitutional — but her trial went ahead, and is scheduled for May 26. She also offered to apologize to the victim, take a course on bullying, and undergo counseling — an offer Judge Gustavo Sztraicher declined.
“She should face the consequences of her cruel and criminal act,” said the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office.
Under the California privacy law, Mathers could face six months in jail and see a fine of $1,000.
Mathers’ defense lawyer, Dana Cole, argued that Mathers was not in violation of the law, which bans filming or photographing an “identifiable” person in a changing room, because the woman’s face was not visible in the image.
“This was a far-away shot, and the victim, her features cannot be identified,” Cole said.
Mathers recently tweeted that she “never body shamed a person” in her entire life, adding: “I’m glad you believe everything the tabloids tell you.”
“Body shaming is humiliating, with often painful, long-term consequences,” said Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer when he announced the decision to prosecute Mathers in November.
“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,'” said Feuer. “What really matters is our character and humanity.”