Man with rare genetic disease sues Shaq O’Neal for mocking him

shaq-lookingEx-NBA star Shaquille O’Neal along with two others being sued by Jahmel Binion, a man with rare genetic disease who was mocked via social media – for $25,000 in damages.

The other two are Utah Jazz rookie Trey Burke and rapper Waka Flocka, according to the Detroit Free Press.

O’Neal made headlines in May when he posted a mocking selfie on Instagram next to a photo of a Michigan man with a rare genetic disease.

“I was thinking ‘Man, he’s supposed to be this role model, someone everyone is supposed to look up to. If Shaq does something like this,” Binion said in May, everyone who follows him “will think, ‘We should do this.'”

Shaq later apologized, both publicly and privately and said the two were now friends, but apparently Jahmel Binion didn’t feel same way.

“Made a new friend today when I called and apologized to Jahmel Binion,” Shaq wrote on Twitter at the time. Great dude.”

According to a Jazz spokesperson, Burke also apologized to Binion privately and on Twitter.

The trouble began earlier this summer after Binion, who suffers from ectodermal dysplasia which affects his teeth and hair, posted a selfie and was widely mocked on social media.

Binion’s lawsuit claims “offensive communications” were sent to more than 8.4 million people worldwide and their actions were an invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation and general negligence.

The suit was filed in Macomb County (Michigan) Circuit Court on Wednesday, the Free Press reported.

It also states that the public mocking of the original photo publicly disclosed private facts and was “extreme and dangerous conduct” that caused Binion severe emotional distress.

“The defendants’ communications were false because the plaintiff’s medical condition is not an appropriate reason for mockery, ridicule and shame,” the suit states.

Binion has since used his involuntary fame to start an anti-bullying campaign called Hug Don’t Judge.

Following the initial incident, The National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias wrote an open letter to O’Neal saying “bullying is never acceptable.”

O’Neal played in 1207 NBA games (1197 started), averaging 23.7 ppg, 10.9 rpg, 2.3 bpg in 34.7 minutes of action. He was a 15-time NBA All-Star, and won 4 NBA championships (three with Los Angeles Lakers, one with Miami Heat).


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