In July 2016, former Playboy model Dani Mathers made a reallllllly bad judgment call—and Snapchat was there to catch her in the act. While in an LA Fitness locker room, she snapped a nude photo of a 71-year-old gym-goer with the caption "If I can't unsee this, you can't either."
Obv, not only was the act completely illegal, but the Internet also schooled her (and rightfully so) for body-shaming an innocent elderly woman. (Here's just one woman's epic reaction to the scandal.) Besides a monsoon of social media backlash, Mathers also lost her job at a local radio station, faced a Change.org petition with tens of thousands of signatures calling for legal action, and has been banned from all LA Fitness locations. Now, she faces an official court sentence.
Last week, Mathers pleaded no contest to invasion of privacy and is sentenced to 30 days of graffiti removal and three years of probation, according to the LA Times. She chose this over the other punishment option, which included 45 days in jail and three years of probation, according to TMZ.
This morning, she appeared on Good Morning America to speak out for the first time since her conviction, saying that she's "accepting" of her punishment and is "excited to clean up our streets." Mathers also detailed the Internet (and IRL) backlash that she's been experiencing since the incident.
"It's taught me a lot about privacy," she told ABC News. "I've lost a lot of that myself as well. We've had a lot of paparazzi involved in my family life. I had my privacy taken away after I took someone else's." Mathers said that her increasing fame from the incident, "feels very backwards."
"That's not how I'm gonna choose to remember my life and my career," she said. "This is something that I'm never going to forget happened. I'm going to continue learning and growing from [it]."
Mathers had previously pleaded "not guilty" to the case, and issued a public apology (insisting that she meant to send the photo to a friend, not post it publicly)—but both the public and the legal system said, "nope, not good enough." For one, taking naked photos of anyone without their consent and sharing them (whether it's to one friend or the entire Internet) is 100 percent illegal and morally not okay. As LA Fitness wrote in a tweet following the event, "It's not just our rule, it's common decency." Second, by body-shaming this woman, Mathers is continuing a horrific dialogue that certain bodies are okay to be seen naked (ahem, Playboy Playmates, for example), while others are not. Body-shaming—in any situation or in regards to any person—is never, ever okay.
It's about time that body-shaming stops (on social media and IRL)—and it shouldn't take an illegal nude locker room photo to do it.