Wednesday 22 November 2017

Pensioner 'body shamed' by Playboy model Dani Mathers speaks out about 'humiliating' ordeal

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MAY 06: Playboy Playmate Dani Mathers attends the Single Mom's Awards at The Peninsula Beverly Hills on May 6, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MAY 06: Playboy Playmate Dani Mathers attends the Single Mom's Awards at The Peninsula Beverly Hills on May 6, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)

Harriet Alexander

A 70-year-old woman who was photographed changing in a gym by a Playboy model, with the resulting photo going viral around the world, has spoken of her humiliation at being “body shamed”.

The woman, who has not been named, was at an LA Fitness gym in Los Angeles when a naked photo of her was taken in July.

It was posted to Snapchat with the caption: “If I can’t unsee this then you can’t either.”

Dani Mathers, 30, pleaded no contest last month to misdemeanor invasion of privacy and was sentenced to spend 30 days cleaning graffiti on city streets.

She has since spoken extensively to the media, appearing tearfully on breakfast television to apologise and say she had learnt from her mistake.

Her victim, who wishes to remain anonymous, asked for $60 in compensation to pay for a new gym kit bag, so that she could not be identified.

Dani Mathers leaves Los Angeles County Superior Court after pleading no contest to the charges (AP)
Dani Mathers leaves Los Angeles County Superior Court after pleading no contest to the charges (AP)

Mike Feuer, a lawyer who has worked with the victim, said that she was deeply hurt by the incident.

“I spoke to her myself a day or two after the conclusion of the Mathers case. I wanted to get a sense from her directly what she was feeling at that moment, and it was a very poignant conversation,” he told the Los Angeles Times.

“She has been humiliated. She’s relieved that she didn’t have to endure a trial and testify, but she was willing to do so.

“She wishes the whole chapter, this painful chapter, would close.”

Dani Mathers pictured holding a plaque with the cover of the ‘Playboy’ June 2015 issue, in which she was named 2015 Playmate of the Year. Photo: Reuters
Dani Mathers pictured holding a plaque with the cover of the ‘Playboy’ June 2015 issue, in which she was named 2015 Playmate of the Year. Photo: Reuters

He said that the victim had used the word “humiliating” to describe her feelings.

“Body shaming is inhumane,” said Mr Feuer. “And it tears down the victim’s self-respect. It has devastating consequences. It stigmatises victims.”

He also criticised Miss Mathers for her decision to speak out about it.

“Miss Mathers is attempting to portray herself as the victim. She is not the victim. She is the perpetrator,” he said.

“Miss Mathers says that she didn’t intend to widely disseminate the photo. That ignores the fact that she invaded another woman’s privacy by taking a nude photo of her in a gym. And then, of course, once she took the photo, she added a cruel caption to it before she sent it out.”

Miss Mathers, on Good Morning America, said that she had tried to contact the victim. Mr Feuer disputed that.

The former model also said she had received death threats – something Mr Feuer condemned.

He said he was working to address the legal loophole, in which the taking of the photograph was a crime but its dissemination was not.

“I’ve sponsored a bill that’s being authored by California state Senator Cathleen Galgiani,” he said.  “It passed the state Senate.

"What that bill would do is penalise the distribution of a photo that invades a person’s privacy this way. The bill would in addition provide a monetary penalty. It would also provide restitution to enable the victim to obtain whatever assistance is necessary to remove the photo from the internet, which as you might imagine in this day and age, with social media being so prevalent, is especially important.”

He added: “What it means to have private space has never been more important. I think the expectations that we have of where we can be private shouldn’t have to evolve. Certainly when one is in a shower in a gym, that has to be thought of a private space.

“And all of us in our society are struggling with the emerging questions about whether we need to be rethinking where we can expect to have true privacy. That’s a shame.

“As oriented as I am to the importance of the public space and engaging each other to try to improve our common life, it’s got to be possible to retreat from that and have a space where no one else is allowed. I think the technology is challenging that every day.”

Telegraph.co.uk

Promoted Links

Life Newsletter

Our digest of the week's juiciest lifestyle titbits.

Promoted Links

Editors Choice

Also in Life