Peter Jacob, a student in Jon Pfeiffer’s Fall 2016 Mass Communication Law class at Pepperdine University, wrote the following essay in response to the prompt: We recently heard in the news that an ex-playboy bunny used Snapchat to publicly body shame an overweight woman in her gym. Do you feel it was within her rights to share the nude photo of the woman? How should she have been punished?
Snap! And just like that a picture Is taken and put on a Snapchat Story for the whole world to see. Dani Mathers, the Playboy’s Playmate of the Year 2015, was at a L.A. fitness gym and when she saw another woman’s nude body she was offended. She then took a picture of this woman and uploaded it to her Snapchat Story with the caption “If I can’t unsee this then you can’t either. Premack” The question to ask is whether Dani Mathers was within her rights to share a nude photo of this woman? The answer is absolutely not. Dani Mathers invaded the privacy of another and also harmed the reputation of this woman and should be punished.
First off all, Dani Mathers was not within her rights to take the photo itself. The photo was taken in a L.A. Fitness bathroom, which is against the facility rules. It is an invasion of the woman’s privacy to take a photo of her in a bathroom let alone a nude photo of her. It is a common art of decency to give everyone their privacy in a bathroom. It is an expectation that everyone follows. The woman also did not give permission to Mathers to share the photo of her and let alone the woman had no knowledge of the picture before it was taken. That is also an invasion of privacy, as the photo was posted without the consent of the woman herself.
Dani Mathers’ post also harmed the reputation of the woman due to the caption and mood of the photo. Mathers body shamed the woman stating “I can’t unsee this.” A comment that insults the woman’s body image and states that she can’t put the image of the woman’s body out of her mind. Mathers post was absolutely offensive and intentional completely harming the woman herself and her identity. The intent of her actions was obvious and deserves severe punishment.
Mathers’ actions suffered severe backlash by the public, which resulted in her deletion of her social media platforms. I think Mathers should be punished by being fined for damages to the social reputation of the woman in the photo and also serve time in jail from 3-6 months. Mathers could also be registered as a sex offender due to the invasion of privacy combined with the nudity in the photo. If Mathers was a male, the situation would be completely different and the male would be ultimately a registered sex offender and fined a severe amount of money as well as jail time.
In conclusion, Mathers’ action cannot be reversed. She invaded the privacy of a woman by taking an illegal photo in a L.A. Fitness bathroom. She was not in her rights for the actions she committed and should be severely punished. People deserve their privacy in many areas of their life, especially in the areas where their “private parts” are showing. Mathers must serve time for her actions as the picture is now permanent and just like her caption, her actions can’t be unseen.
Peter is a senior at Pepperdine University majoring in Economics/Media Production.
Jon Pfeiffer is an experienced entertainment and copyright trial attorney practicing in Santa Monica. Jon is also an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California where he teaches Media Law. COM 570 covers First Amendment issues as well as copyright, defamation and privacy.