Back in April, NBA analyst and hall of fame product endorser Shaquille O’Neal set an example for all of his young fans out there after he made fun of a random person on Instagram. The Big Apologizer claimed that he thought the picture he was mocking was photoshopped, but what he didn’t know was that guy’s name is Jahmel Binion and he suffers from Ectodermal Dysplasias, which is a disorder that causes missing teeth and hair, among other conditions. As soon as Shaq realized his mistake – or possibly the world of hell that was coming his way for picking on someone like this – he not only deleted the post, but somehow got Binion on the phone and apologized man to man, then Tweeting that Binion was his “new friend.”
Friendship be damned, though, because Binion is suing Shaq, Waka Flocka Flame and Utah Jazz guard Trey Burke for “defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy and general negligence,” according to the Macomb Daily, because their ridicule reached as many as 8.4 million people.
“The defendants mocked and ridiculed the plaintiff, a person completely unknown to themselves in public forums where their activity would be widely disseminated,” the lawsuit says. “The defendants’ communications clearly implied that the plaintiff was an appropriate object of mockery, ridicule and shame” and “had the effect of lowering the plaintiff’s reputation in the eyes of those who respected the views and opinion of the defendants.” (Via Macomb Daily)
Well, Shaq can stuff his sorrys in a sack, as Binion said that he appreciated the phone call, but he felt like it was just the act of a famous guy trying to cut the Internet outrage off at the pass. He told the Macomb Daily that he still accepts all three apologies, but he hopes “that they donate to my cause or other organizations that connect with ectodermal dysplasia.” The amount that Binion is seeking is unknown, but it’ll probably require Shaq to do a few more Gold Bond jingles.
In May, Binion told his local Fox affiliate that on top of the apologies, he had other expectations for these celebrities that took shots at him. He wanted them to use their fame to draw awareness to ED, and Binion said that others urged him to make sure their apologies were made on a public platform. Apparently that didn’t mean Twitter.