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.