'Playboy' Playmate Dani Mathers investigated by Los Angeles police for 'body-shaming' photograph

The 29-year-old model issued an apology as outcry over her actions grew

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Monday 18 July 2016 15:50 BST
'Body shaming is wrong' Dani Mathers makes public apology on snapchat

Police in Los Angeles have launched a criminal investigation after Playboy model Dani Mathers posted a so-called body-shaming photograph of another woman and posted it on social media along with disparaging remarks.

Ms Mathers has been at the centre of online fury after she secretly took an image of the woman while naked in the dressing room of a Los Angeles gym. She then posted the image on Snapchat and wrote: “If I can’t unsee this then you can’t either”.

The 29-year-old has found herself fending off criticism since posting the image last week and was banned from all LA Fitness gym, one of which was where she took the photogragh.

On Monday, it was reported that the LAPD had now launched an investigation into whether the model, who was named ‘Playmate of the Year’ in 2015, had broken the law.

LAPD Capt Andrew Neiman told the Los Angeles Times the department had received a report of “illegal distribution” of the image and that detectives were looking into the matter. He said LA Fitness officials reported the posting to police.

LA Fitness last Friday responded to Ms Mathers’ action by permanently revoking her membership at all of its health clubs.

“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.

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

The outcry may have persuaded Ms Mather to issue an apology on Snapchat. She also apparently deleted her Twitter and Instagram accounts.

“That was absolutely wrong and not what I meant to do,” she said, saying that the message was supposed to have been sent privately. “I know that body-shaming is wrong. That is not the type of person I am.”

She added: “I know I have upset a lot of people out there but please, please believe me when I say this is not the type of person I am. I have never done this before, I will never do this again, you have my word.“

Reports suggested Ms Mathers’ action may have been illegal under California law. A section of its Penal Code revised in 2014, says it is an offence 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 is illegal to distribute an image of the “intimate body part or parts” of another person “without the consent of or knowledge of that other person.”

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