Between Harry Styles dropping his latest song via Snapchat filter and food trends you’d swear were designed for Instagram, it’s clear: Social media is here to stay. Documenting ourselves, our lives and the people around us is simply apart of who we are. However, there are still some sacred places one doesn’t pull a camera: the locker room.
Last summer, Playboy model Dani Mathers secretly filmed a 70-year-old woman in the nude at an L.A. Fitness gym. In the Snapchat footage, she captioned it, “If I can’t unsee this, then you can’t either.” She included a photo of herself with a hand clasped over her mouth, shocked by the body of the unknown woman in the photo.
The public was doubly outraged. It’s one thing to film someone appropriately nude in a private environment, it’s another to shame them in such vulnerable state. Mathers posted a video apology soon after, and explained that the video was meant to be sent privately. “That was absolutely wrong and not what I meant to do," she said. "I know that body-shaming is wrong. That is not the type of person I am.” It wasn’t enough. She was banned from L.A. Fitness and in November, the L.A. city attorney’s office filed criminal charges against the former playmate. She was charged with a misdemeanor invasion of privacy.
According to the New York Daily News, Mathers will now appear in court on May 26. This is despite her effort to avoid trial. Under California law it’s illegal to secretly record an “identifiable person” in a home, changing room, or tanning booth without the subject's consent. Mathers' defense claimed the woman in the video couldn’t be immediately identified due to the fuzzy video. The judge denied the motion.
In a response to the charges last year, as noted by the L.A. Times, city attorney Mike Feuer definitely wanted to send a message to the masses: "Body-shaming is humiliating, with often painful, long-term consequences," he said. “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.' What really matters is our character and humanity. While body-shaming, in itself, is not a crime, there are circumstances in which invading one's privacy to accomplish it can be. And we shouldn’t tolerate that."
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