While I was eating lunch today I read this gigantic bombshell report by the Miami New Times on the on-going war between Shaquille O’Neal and his former IT guy, Shawn Darling, and it’s just WHOA! The gist of the story is this: When faced with restraining order from an Atlanta-based rapper who claimed he was stalking her, O’Neal hired Darling to scrub his computer of incriminating evidence.
In a restraining order obtained in Georgia court, 23-year-old Alexis Miller claimed that since they had broken up, O’Neal enjoyed calling her and breathing Darth Vader-style into the phone. When she demanded that he identify himself, he would instead mutter in his recognizable basso: “Bitch. Ho.”
Miller, a budding rapper with the stage name Maryjane, also claimed O’Neal had threatened to pay other recording artists $50,000 each to stop working with her.
Then there were the emails O’Neal allegedly wrote. “I dnt no who the fuk u think u dealin wit u will neva be heard from one phone call is all I gotta make now try me,” he steamed before adding enigmatically: “Sho me.”
Attached to one of the emails, she added, was a crude illustration of “a man physically restraining a woman while forcing her to engage in sexual intercourse.”
If you don’t want your mental image of Shaq as a sweet, loveable big guy with a goofy grin who raps and dances and poses for pictures with pandas and is just a good guy through and through, you might want to stop reading here.
So Shawn Darling, who sports a scraped-clean dome and a slightly leery perma-grin, got to work at his boss’s behest. He perched himself like a pygmy at O’Neal’s sprawling desk, which the giant had custom-built to make himself feel even smaller than a regular person.
He scoured O’Neal’s Macintosh hard drive seven times so that no subpoena would ever get at any digital evidence once stored there. Darling also made a suggestion. “Why you using AOL for email anyway?” he scoffed at his boss. “Why don’t you have me set you up on your own server so that you can always have access to your old emails?”
And that’s where the trouble starts. Essentially, what happened next is that Shaq, believing that Darling was betraying him by leaking info contained in the emails to his embattled wife, tried to frame Darling by having kiddie porn planted on his servers. So now Darling, sitting on years of Shaquille O’Neal emails detailing intimate details about his life like threats and payments to mistresses and baby-mommas, is now saying that he “will ruin Shaq” in retaliation for Shaq trying to ruin him. It’s all more sordid than an episode of Melrose Place — sh*t that would make even Tiger Woods blush.
The emails expose O’Neal as a digital Don Juan with other women when he was married to Shaunie Nelson. In one of the conversations, Newsweek reporter Allison Samuels, who helped O’Neal’s mother write an autobiography, appears to play a game of pick-a-mistress with the basketball star while attempting to set him up with various models and actresses.
“I want u or rihanna,” O’Neal demurs, referring to the singer.
In another email exchange, he bluntly asks a Swedish model: “Where can I cum at when I c u.”
After she replies, “All over me, where do you wanna cum,” Shaq waxes poetic: “In u foreva.”
In response to this story, O’Neal’s attorney Michael J. Kump said in a statement: “Shawn Darling is a convicted felon who has attempted to extort millions of dollars from Shaquille O’Neal, and he must be delighted that he has found a willing accomplice in New Times. The allegations in his lawsuit are false. A judge already has dismissed the original complaint. Shaquille is kindhearted and generous, but he won’t be intimidated by people like Shawn Darling.”
A final note — I did find the following passage about a paranoid Shaq dumping his already-scrubbed computer in a lake, though creepy and disturbing as hell, kind of amusing…
(O’Neal) wasn’t quite satisfied with the clean hard drive, Darling would later claim in a civil complaint. The superstar boxed up the computer and headed out to the small pleasure craft docked behind his mansion. Joe, O’Neal’s “houseboy” — a position that, as gleaned from an email filed in court, paid $155,000 a year — played first mate.
When they returned from their lake expedition, Darling recalls, the houseboy was holding a soaked, empty computer box. The Styrofoam had made the box float, the lake-faring duo explained to Darling. So they had to take the computer out and toss it into the depths.
Darling says he sat shotgun while O’Neal then spent hours hunched over a laptop in his Mercedes-Benz in the parking lot of a local Barnes & Noble. Afraid to use his own internet connection, he anonymously called Miller a “gold digger” in the comments sections of blogs that reported the restraining order.
Choose your computer guys and your ladies carefully, kids.