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Model Dani Mathers has been charged with a misdemeanor count of invasion of privacy after Snapchatting a photo of a naked woman in her gym’s locker room without her consent. The initial photo sparked outrage and accusations of body-shaming, which L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer echoed in a statement. However, the issue isn’t just body-shaming—it’s privacy and consent.
Mathers posted the photo of the woman in July, with the caption “If I can’t unsee this then you can’t either.” She later claimed the photo was an “accident,” and released a public apology saying body-shaming is wrong. Mathers was banned from her gym, L.A. Fitness.
In a statement, Feuer said, “Body-shaming is humiliating, with often painful, long-term consequences. 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.”
While true, statements like Feuer’s insinuate that this as solely an issue of body-shaming. But what’s legally at stake is that Mathers publicly posted a nude photo of a woman without that woman’s consent. Body-shaming may have been her motive, but an act like that has more in common with leaked nudes and revenge porn than just saying something mean.
Most people are applauding the charge, but Chris Hayes tweeted that he doesn’t understand why Mathers has been prosecuted.
The charge could mean six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Mathers’ arraignment is scheduled for Nov. 28.
Jaya Saxena is a lifestyle writer and editor whose work focuses primarily on women's issues and web culture. Her writing has appeared in GQ, ELLE, the Toast, the New Yorker, Tthe Hairpin, BuzzFeed, Racked, Eater, Catapult, and others. She is the co-author of 'Dad Magazine,' the author of 'The Book Of Lost Recipes,' and the co-author of 'Basic Witches.'