“This was a very important case to me – as a father, as a son, as someone who recognizes the damage that body shaming can do because it is so humiliating,” said Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer. “The issues that surround body shaming can be devastating – not only to daughters and mothers, but also to sons and fathers, members of the LGBTQ community, to a trans kid who might be struggling with identity, to people who are disabled. The message today is clear: body shaming is not tolerated in the City of Los Angeles.
“When I first heard about this case, I was incredulous that while the taking of the photo in these circumstances is clearly against the law, the actual distribution of it didn’t have any real consequences,” continued Feuer. “So just this week, the California State Senate passed a bill I’ve sponsored (SB 784 – Crimes: disorderly conduct: invasion of privacy). The bill provides that if you take a photo of someone in these circumstances without their permission–someone who is nude or partially clothed–and then distribute it, the penalty is enhanced by $1,000 and the individual whose photo was taken is entitled to restitution in an amount necessary to get that picture off the internet and out of public distribution. That’s crucial, because every day that picture lives online is another day of humiliation. I am optimistic this bill will soon be enacted and further protect Californians from body shaming.”
Feuer’s office filed a criminal case against former Playboy Playmate Dani Mathers in November for allegedly secretly photographing a 70-year-old woman in the nude while she was in the shower area of a local fitness center. Mathers allegedly posted the photograph to social media.
Mathers, 29, was charged with one count of invasion of privacy (PC 647(j)(3)(A). Today she entered a plea of no contest and will perform 30 days of community labor.
“This country has a growing problem of bullying through body-shaming on social media that needs to be addressed,” said State Sen. Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton) “Having a photo taken of you in a fitting room or locker room when you have a reasonable expectation of privacy is humiliating in and of itself — but when that photo is then shared across social media the victim can experience long-term harm and embarrassment. This type of behavior is destructive and Senate Bill 784 will make sure our laws keep pace with the ever changing social media environment. As the Mather’s case has demonstrated, this legislation is an important step to protecting the privacy of Californians.”
Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine supports the work L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer in this case, too. Apart from any legal repercussions, this particular act of body shaming says a lot about the perpetrator. Obviously, Dani Mathers doesn’t have either a mother or grandmother, leave alone any respect for women or the aging. Worse, it didn’t occur to her yet that she herself is a woman and a human being who is not immune to either life or aging. Let’s hope that time and the inevitable changes it produces will reform her.
The case – in spite of the legal victory – is quite depressing. Here is a wise take on it, from Twitter.
Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich