Shaquille O'Neal, Waka Flocka Flame and Trey Burke are all being sued by a Michigan man with a rare disorder after taking pictures and posting them on Instagram mocking his appearance.
Jahmel Binion, 23 at the time of the incident, filed a lawsuit Wednesday against O’Neal, Trey Burke and the rapper known as Waka Flocka Flame in Macomb County Circuit Court. He and his lawyers are claiming defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy and general negligence for the incidents earlier this year.
O’Neal, a former NBA superstar and current TV analyst as well as minority owner of the Sacremento Kings, obtained a selfie photo that Binion posted on social media that had gone viral and took a picture of himself, making a face, and posted it adjacent to Binion on Instagram and Twitter.
The post was accompanied by the caption, “Smile today.” Others joined in, including the Utah Jazz point guard Burke and rapper Waka Flocka.
Binion has hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia, a rare disorder characterized by a reduced ability to sweat, sparse hair growth, missing teeth and facial deformities.
“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.”
Upon learning about Binion’s condition, O’Neal and Burke apologized and called Binion. But the plaintiff says this was only after public condemnation of their antics and were simply an effort to get the heat off their backs.
The suit does not name a figure that they are looking for but it is thought to be above the 25,000 dollar mark. It is not known if any damages won will be given to charity by Binion.