Nobody likes former Playboy Playmate Dani Mathers after she made the astonishingly cruel, stupid, and illegal choice to take a photo of a nude woman at her gym and post it to Snapchat alongside a photo of her laughing with the caption, “If I can’t unsee this, neither can you.”
It’s hard to imagine what Mathers thought was going to happen when she posted that photo. Did she think people would enjoy seeing a 20-something Playboy model mocking a 70-year-old woman’s body? Nobody thought that was funny, especially since everybody with half a brain knows that time and gravity come for us all, and any one of us could be that 70-year-old woman someday. (Mathers does not seem to be aware that old age is coming for her, too.)
Whatever Mathers thought was going to happen, what she actually got was banned from the gym, fired from her radio host job, reported to the police, and brought up on charges.
Mathers faced up to six months in jail, but she pleaded no contest to the charges and she got three years’ probation and 30 days of community service. She also got an US Weekly profile to talk about rehabbing her image and what she’s learned from the experience, and the answer seems to be that she hasn’t learned much.
“There is no doubt I regret that stupid choice,” Mathers said. “I am sorry that it happened to this woman. But I am not sorry about what happened to me. I would not have this push to create positivity and try to change people’s minds about how they act without thinking. My life flipped upside down. But it’s a blessing in disguise.”
That’s a pretty weird thing to say. For starters, the language “I am sorry that it happened to this woman” denies her own agency in the act and makes it sound as though the woman’s photo being taken and posted on the Internet was just some uncontrollable act of God, like a bug flying into one’s ice cream cone. Mathers would have done well to say, “I’m sorry I did that” instead of “I’m sorry that happened to you.”
When asked what she would most like to say to the woman she victimized, Mathers says, “A million things have run through my mind. But bottom line is: ‘I’m so sorry.’ I never intended to hurt her. There was a lot of pain caused and I think she would like to put this behind her, as would I.”
“I’m so sorry” would be a good step, but Jezebel reports that Mathers has not actually reached out to apologize to the woman.
The woman was completely humiliated, and it’s still going on for her. During the case, her lawyer says the topic of restitution came up, and the woman said she would like $60. That was an odd amount to ask for, but the woman said she wanted to buy a new backpack. Her old backpack had been in the photo Mathers posted, and she said people on the street recognized her from it, so she had to get a new one.
Mathers does seem to regret what she did, and she’s been using her newfound infamy (and community service requirement) to talk to kids about bullying and responsible use of social media. But she gives the impression that she thinks she’s a victim, too, when really what she’s getting is her comeuppance for her own actions.
“When you’re told how much of a monster you are, it pushes you to look inside. I don’t ever want to be someone spitting hate. That’s really what I’ve learned. I also gained a lot of empathy and learned that everybody, at some point, has judged a person. Going through this past year and making it to the other side, I know I can handle almost anything,” Mathers said.
In a different interview, though, Mathers said, “I had my privacy taken away after I took someone else’s.” She still seems to think she’s also a victim here.
It sounds like she still has a way to go towards taking responsibility for her actions and acknowledging that this isn’t something that “happened” to the other woman and is now happening to her. It was a choice she made to be cruel and nasty because she thought people would think it was funny, and the “backlash” she got was well deserved.