Los Angeles police were investigating a former Playboy Playmate of the Year Saturday for alleged "illegal distribution" of a photo she took and shared on Snapchat of a naked woman in a Playa Vista gym locker room, a police spokesman said.
Dani Mathers faced widespread criticism after she shared the photo on Snapchat with the caption: "If I can't unsee this then you can't either." In the photo, the woman's face is turned away from the camera. Mathers also posted a selfie along with the naked photo, in which she has one hand over mouth as if to stifle a laugh.
She later apologized, saying the post was meant to be a private message, and deleted her social media accounts. Detectives were investigating after the LAPD received a report of "illegal distribution" of the image, police Capt. Andrew Neiman said.
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Mathers, 29, is the 2015 Playboy Playmate of the Year. She took the image at an LA Fitness gym on Lincoln Boulevard in Playa Vista.
The backlash on social media was immediate, and Mathers was banned from all LA Fitness locations.
"Her behavior is appalling and puts every member at risk of losing their privacy," said Jill Greuling, the company's executive vice president of operations, in a statement to NBC4 Southern California. "Her membership has been permanently revoked, at all of our health clubs, and law enforcement has been notified. Our written rules are very clear: Cellphone usage and photography are prohibited in the locker rooms. This is not only our rule, but common decency."
Tess Holliday, an LA-based plus size model, posted a Twitter message that read, "Dani Mathers it must be nice to be so perfect that you feel like you can publicly shame other bodies. Please educate yourself."
One of Mathers' followers zinged her on social media with a post that read, "@DaniMathers your ugliness cannot be unseen now."
These were followed by a host of Twitter messages from others slamming the model for her behavior.
Mathers posted a string of apologies, claiming she was new to Snapchat and uploaded the image by mistake.
"I want to acknowledge my post from snapchat earlier. There is no excuse...I understand fully the magnitude of this post and I have hurt a lot of people, women. Body shaming is not okay and is nothing to joke about...," she said on Twitter, before deleting her account.
"This was meant to be a part of a private conversation that never should have happened. There are no words to describe how deeply sorry I am for hurting and offending you all. Women make my world go around. I surround myself with women and I completely understand the magnitude of this post.
"Please, please know this mistake has truly made me realize that something that can seem silly in a private conversation isn't unnecessary... Should never make light of another woman's naked body. I'm sorry for what I did... I need to take some time to myself now to reflect on why I did this horrible thing. Goodnight."
Mathers has since deleted her Snapchat and Twitter accounts.
The Associated Press and City News Service contributed to this report.