Dani Mathers: What happened when a Playboy Playmate posted a photo of an unwitting naked woman on Snapchat

'If I can’t see unsee this then you can’t either'

Rachel Premack
Tuesday 19 July 2016 09:59 BST
Dani Mathers has faced a backlash online, and has been banned from L.A. Fitness over the incident
Dani Mathers has faced a backlash online, and has been banned from L.A. Fitness over the incident (Getty Images)

Support truly
independent journalism

Our mission is to deliver unbiased, fact-based reporting that holds power to account and exposes the truth.

Whether $5 or $50, every contribution counts.

Support us to deliver journalism without an agenda.

Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


This Snapchat didn’t disappear after 10 seconds.

Dani Mathers, Playboy’s 2015 Playmate of the Year, was at L.A. Fitness on Wednesday when the body of a fellow gym-goer offended her. The 29-year-old took to Snapchat to post the woman’s body — naked, on her story.

The caption: “If I can’t see unsee this then you can’t either.” It pictured Mathers, sporting weight-lifting gloves and a Nike tank top, covering her mouth in false-shock. What resulted was likely thousands looking at this woman’s nude body, fat-shamed by a blond Playmate, on Mathers’s public Snapchat.

The backlash was strong — Mathers has been banned from L.A. Fitness, indefinitely suspended from her radio gig on a popular Los Angeles station and predictably lambasted on the Internet.

She apologized, then deleted her Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, according to the New York Daily News.

But apologies don’t work in court. And that’s where Mathers might be headed next.

That’s because LA Fitness banned Mathers from all 800-plus of its gyms, then notified the Los Angeles Police Department that Mathers photographed a member in its locker room. That’s strictly prohibited, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“Her behavior is appalling and puts every member at risk of losing their privacy,” said Jill Greuling, the company’s executive vice president of operations.

Los Angeles Police Capt. Andrew Neiman said they received a report of “illegal distribution” of the image from the international gym chain. Detectives from the LAPD’s west division sexual assault section are investigating, Neiman told the L.A. Times.

“Our written rules are very clear: Cellphone usage and photography are prohibited in the locker rooms,” Greuling said. “This is not only our rule, but common decency.”

Playboy mansion for sale

Mathers’s act was illegal under California law. A section of its Penal Code revised in 2014 said it’s a misdemeanor to look “with the intent to invade the privacy of a person” into places like a changing room, where a person has “a reasonable expectation of privacy,” with a camera. Under this law, it’s illegal generally to distribute an image of the “intimate body part or parts” of another person “without the consent of or knowledge of that other person.”

Under that law, Mathers could be charged in the state of California with disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor that can include a fine of up to $1,000 or six months in jail.

This incident, which resulted in Mathers deleting all social media accounts, has ironically become her 15 minutes of fame. Google search trends suggest it’s her most popular moment yet:

Meanwhile, Playboy’s popularity as a whole has been sinking. The magazine’s circulation has dropped from 5.6 million in 1975 to 800,000 in October 2015, according to the Alliance for Audited Media.

The magazine stopped featuring full front nudity starting with its March 2016 issue. It’s part of rebranding the magazine that aims to promote an image that’s “Less sweatsuit, more Tom Ford.” It markets its brand as more aspirational and luxury-focused, rather than hawking crass nudes. Its ideal reader is an urban male millennial. Editor Cory Jones told the New York Times last year, “The difference between us and Vice is that we’re going after the guy with a job.”

The last time a Playmate of the Year made headlines for losing a job, it was model Hope Dworaczyk. After being named in 2010, she competed in Celebrity Apprentice and was fired in week nine. Her appearance on the show, she said, was for only one purpose: “Not to leave until I won money for Best Buddies. I chose to play for them because it’s a great cause.”

Mathers posting snaps of herself snickering at a naked, overweight woman is a bit different from that.

© Washington Post

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in