Former NBA player Shaquille O’Neal and rapper Waka Flocka Flame are in hot water after a man, Jahmel Binion sued both plus another NBA player in Trey Burke for mocking his appearance on social media Twitter.
“The defendants mocked and ridiculed the plaintiff, a person completely unknown to themselves in public forums where their activity would be widely disseminated,” stated in Binion’s charges made at the Macomb County Circuit Court in McDonough County, Illinois, United States.
“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.”
Binion has a rare disorder called “hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia” which is typified by a reduced ability to sweat, sparse hair growth, missing teeth and facial deformities.
“Most people with hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia have a reduced ability to sweat (hypohidrosis) because they have fewer sweat glands than normal or their sweat glands do not function properly. Sweating is a major way that the body controls its temperature; as sweat evaporates from the skin, it cools the body. An inability to sweat can lead to a dangerously high body temperature (hyperthermia), particularly in hot weather,” according to Genetics Home Reference.
The site also mentioned that the disorder is estimated to affect at least 1 in 17,000 people worldwide.
O’Neal tweeted a photo of himself and a selfie of Binion adjacent to each other with the words, “Smile Today” and others including Burke and Waka Flocka joined what was then considered an innocent joke.
O’Neal, popular for his NBA playing days with the Los Angeles Lakers and Orlando Magic among others, and Burks, who is currently with the Utah Jazz, have already publicly apologized to Binion but the latter claims that their apologies came way after the incident and only after the national media and fans called it to their attention.
“When they said sorry, I felt like they were saying it to get the pressure off of them for being considered ‘bad people,’” Binion said in May via the Oakland Press.
“Even though I accept their apology, I still hope that they donate to my cause or other organizations that connect with ectodermal dysplasia.”