Michigan resident Jahmel Binion is suing basketball players Shaquille O’Neal and Trey Burke and rap singer Waka Flocka for ridiculing a selfie he posted to Instagram.
Last year Binion, who has a rare genetic disorder that affects his facial features, posted the selfie that became fodder for jokes by the celebrities. The mocking has now resulted in a suit filed in Macomb County Circuit Court seeking $25,000 in damages.
After he was so mercilessly mocked, Binion started an anti-bullying campaign he entitled Hug Don’t Judge and became well known on his own with that effort.
All the celebrities involved did eventually delete their taunts and then apologized for their social media posts saying they didn’t understand the disorder, but Binion is suing anyway, saying that the celebs “clearly implied that the plaintiff was an appropriate object of mockery, ridicule and shame.”
The suit says that the ridicule disclosed embarrassing private facts about his health condition and caused emotional distress.
Binion’s suit goes on to charge, “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 suit continues saying, “The defendants’ communications were false because the plaintiff’s medical condition is not an appropriate reason for mockery, ridicule and shame.”
The lawsuit charges the celebrities with invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation, and general negligence.
According to the Detroit Free Press, “Binion’s condition, called ectodermal dysplasia, can affect a person’s appearance and cause health problems. In Binion’s case, he does not sweat, and the condition has affected his hair and teeth. If he gets overheated and can’t cool himself down, he said, he could faint or suffer heat stroke.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com