A man in Michigan says he was cyberbullied by basketball star Shaquille O’Neal for the way he looks. O’Neal has apologized.
Jahmel Binion posted a selfie on facebook. The former NBA star posted the picture on Instagram alongside a selfie of his own, with the caption “Smile Today. The photo had more than 14,000 likes and more than 400 comments.
Binion spoke to reporters and explained that he has been teased his entire life for the way he looks due to a disability called “Ectodermal Dysplasia.”
"I've been getting teased since I was yay tall. People would laugh at me point at me stare at me,” Binion said.
Binion’s friends told him that Shaq had posted his photo online.
"I was kinda hurt cause I look up to him. I watched Shaq play basketball the whole season and so I'm like why he making fun of me when he supposed to be this role model?” Binion said.
Atlanta Rapper Waka Flocka Flame and University of Michigan basketball player Trey Burke also mocked Binion, following Shaq’s post.
"I got a mindview where I can't let it get to me then I'll get hurt and depressed so I just keep my mind high and positive,” Binion said.
Binion has started a facebook page called “Hug Don’t Judge.” Quickly, the page has received thousands of followers. LINK: https://www.facebook.com/groups/234486460081570/235081243355425/?notif_t=group_activity
"I'm starting a whole new thing called hug don't judge. Rather than bully that person you know go up to them and show them you different from everybody else,” Binion said.
The situation has prompted the National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias (NFED) to respond with an open letter to O’Neal. In part, it reads, “Bullying is never acceptable and we, as a nation, have had some devastating consequences as a result of bullying. However, to be called out on a celebrity’s social media and made fun of is especially reprehensible.”
Read the organization’s open letter to Shaq here:
The image on Shaq’s Instagram page has been removed. Tuesday, Shaq posted a tweet that read: