Shaquille O’Neal, Utah Jazz basketball player Trey Burke and rapper Waka Flocka Flame have found themselves in an unusual partnership — as defendants in a lawsuit.
O’Neal, Burke and Waka Flocka Flame (real name: Juaquin Malphurs) are being sued by a man who suffers from a rare ailment, who says that the trio mocked his photo on social media, the Detroit Free Press reports.
In a lawsuit filed in a Macomb County, Mich., court on Wednesday, Jahmel Binion claims that the trio made fun of Binion’s unusual appearance, which is caused by a rare disorder. Binion suffers from ectodermal dysplasia, which has left him with an inability to sweat and affected his teeth and hair.
According to the suit, the trio posted “offensive communications” that reached more than 8.4 million readers, causing severe emotional distress to Binion.
“The defendants’ communications clearly implied that the plaintiff was an appropriate object of mockery, ridicule and shame. The defendants’ communications had the effect of lowering the plaintiff’s reputation in the eyes of those who respected the views and opinions of the defendants,” the lawsuit claims. “The defendants’ communications were false because the plaintiff’s medical condition is not an appropriate reason for mockery, ridicule and shame.”
O’Neal and Burke subsequently reached out to apologize to Binion by phone, and all three published mea culpas on Twitter, but Binion told the Oakland Press in May that he doubted the sincerity of their apologies.
“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. “Even though I accept their apology, I still hope that they donate to my cause or other organizations that connect with ectodermal dysplasia.”
(Binion has launched an anti-bullying campaign, Hug Don’t Judge.)
The suit, which claims invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress and other allegations, seeks damages in excess of $25,000.