Disabled Fan Sues Shaq O’Neal For $25K For Viral Instagram Selfie

July 31, 2014  |  


In April, we reported on Shaquille O’Neal , Waka Flocka Flame and Trey Burke mocking a young man who suffered from a rare genetic condition.

Retired NBA athlete Shaquille O’Neal posted an Instagram photo mocking a man, Jahmel Binion, 23, who suffers from ectodermal dysplasia. According to the Daily Mail, the syndrome does not allow Binion or others affected by it, to grow hair and teeth. After taking a selfie of himself, people began to imitate his facial expression in their own photos.

Before O’Neal had the opportunity to delete the (above) photo where he is seen mocking Binion, it received 14,016 “likes” and comments. Once Binion’s photo went viral, he started a Facebook campaign named: Hug Don’t Judge. It currently has over 20,000 group members and that include parents whose children suffer from ectodermal dysplasia. When interviewed for about the incident, Binion told Fox reporters:

“I was kind of hurt because I’ve always looked up to him. I’ve watched Shaq play basketball since I was (inaudible), so I was like, why are you making fun of me? He is supposed to be this role model.”

Once Binion went to the press, O’Neal extended an apology to his fan. TMZ reports, O’Neal tweeted: “Made a new friend today when I called and apologized to Jahmel Binion. Great dude. #alwayslearning #MYBADCUZ.”

Although O’Neal thought he made a new friend, Binion felt his apology was insincere and filed a defamation lawsuit against O’Neal along with Waka, Trey Burke en tow. The lawsuit states over 8.4 million people saw the celebrities  insults about Binion’s appearance.

Binion told Macomb Daily: “When they said sorry, I felt like they were saying it to get the pressure off of them for being considered ‘bad people.’ Even though I accept their apology, I still hope that they donate to my cause or other organizations that connect with ectodermal dysplasia.” Macomb Daily also shared, Binion was diagnosed with his genetic condition shortly after he was born. He noted to the media outlet, he cannot work in hot conditions and has trouble maintaining employment. He has also lived beyond his life expectancy of five years.

Binion’s lawsuit seeks $25,000; The suit also listed the celebrities for causing Binion emotional distress, an invasion of his privacy and  general negligence.




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  • Miss D

    And I’ve seen his children…..NONE of them look like their mother so you do the math!

  • Suing? Tough life, but however in poor taste and immaturity driven, the First Amendment prevails.

  • Lisa

    Shaq is a grown man, it’s sad he is bullying and making fun of a disabled person that has much less influence and money than him. I don’t know how people feel comfortable doing these mean things to other people and calling it a joke. This is in no way funny.

    He should have gone for a million.

  • Hope Floats

    Uh huh, and what exactly would this lawsuit contain? Though it may be hard to believe in 2014, mocking another’s Instagram photo is not against the law, insensitive yes, criminal no. You cannot simply sue someone for hurting your feelings, and ESPECIALLY on social media. YOU put yourself out there, you should be able to handle the repercussions that may come as a result. *PS, I’m well aware of harassment charges and verbal abuse, so no need to inform me of their existence…

    • FromUR2UB

      You can sue someone for hurting your feelings. That’s what defamation of character lawsuits are about. Lawsuits are about bringing regret to people for egregious acts, not putting them in jail. Even if the guy doesn’t win, if he can sufficiently shine a spotlight on Shaq for being so ignorant and acting like a grade school jerk, he might achieve the same purpose. Some people/entities are unable to see the error of their ways until they suffer some discomfort. Thus, lawsuits.

      • kierah

        Defamation of character has nothing to do with hurt feelings. It has to do with your reputation being concretely damaged by what someone has said or done. How has he been damaged? Did he lose employment because of what was said? Was he kicked out of his home?
        This is a frivolous lawsuit that shouldn’t see the light of day. If he was serious he would have asked for money to be earmarked for research into his disease.

        • FromUR2UB

          Well, I don’t know law. But, he was publicly humiliated, and even if this case gets thrown out of court, it will have served its purpose if it inconveniences Shaq and Wacka enough to teach them some sensitivity. It’s apparent that the guy has a congenital defect. Shaq is old enough and – I thought – worldly enough to know better. He made himself look juvenile and woefully ignorant making fun of something like that. Shaq has NEVER been good-looking and has no right to feel that he can laugh at someone’s appearance, and Wacka seems dumber than dirt, so what’s he laughing about?

          • And a better lawyer will frame it as a distasteful First Amendment expression.

            However, tough that guy’s life must be, he doesn’t have a legal leg to stand upon.

            Shaq should fight him to the fullest and then donate ten times the sum sought to the NGO which seeks a cure to this genetic disorder.

            • FromUR2UB

              “Shaq should fight him to the fullest…”

              Hmm. That would make big ol’ Shaq look especially small. First, pick on the guy for being disabled, then fight him to the fullest for not just taking it. Shaq could donate to seek a cure anyway, if that was the kind of person he was. Instead, let’s beat up on the guy some more. He deserves it. That’s what he gets for looking funny.

              • Two wrongs don’t make a right, ever.

                The irony shouldn’t be lost on everyone that Binion now has become the bully through his lawsuit.

                Why Shaq pulled a bonehead move (celebs should quit social media), and however distasteful, not only Shaq but all of us are free to do the same with public material. Our founders were right to give us the First Amendment.

                • FromUR2UB

                  Hahaha! $25,000 couldn’t even begin to bully Shaq. And fighting back is not bullying. If someone slapped you upside the head and you want to employ that logic, that’s your business. But, if they do it to anyone else and get their butt kicked, no one who saw it from the start is going to think that person is being bullied. C’mon.

                  • Suing people because you don’t like what they say and then soliciting support of tens of thousands of morons suffering from hyper-indoctrination amounts to bullying.

                    Trying to stifle anyone because you don’t like what that one has said is bullying. End of story.

                    Lucky for us, the First Amendment exists and protects us from morons who whine about others who get their feelings hurt.

                    Binion’s lawsuit behavior is uglier than his looks. If Binion wants to live the right way, he should have said he feels sorry for Shaq’s expressed ugliness, an ugliness far worse than Binion’s genetic deformity.

          • uniquefashionista

            Here, here! I agree with you wholeheartedly.

    • Ebony

      I understand completely what your saying. People get made fun of and bullied everyday by strangers. But don’t you think Wacka should be just a bit sensitive to bulling? Being that his brother commented Suicide, because he didnt like online bulling?

  • uniquefashionista

    Isn’t Shaq and the rest of the “celeb”s a little too old to be making fun of folks? And not one of these people are perfect and flawless. I’m sure each of us can find at LEAST two things that are flawed with these grown “bullies”. Yes, I went there because that’s what they’re being, bullies! They should have more important things to do instead of going on Instagram and making fun of folks. They got off easy! What a bunch of losers.

  • Trisha_B

    Why doesn’t he sue the hundreds, thousands of people who have reposted the pic? I mean, they are ones that made it go viral. Not shaq or Waka

    • Ricardo Bascombe

      dont see the reason to see anyone did he call his name

  • mikki21

    Well he won’t get it, he posted the picture to a public domain.

  • FromUR2UB

    That’s not enough money to make Shaq care. He should have sued for enough to bring more publicity to it, because if Shaq was in danger of losing his Icy/Hot and Gold Bond endorsements, then he’d be worried and sorry.

  • speaksthetruth

    Should of sued for a lot more. I hope he gets every cent.

  • Rebbekah

    What took him so long? Good luck lol

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