Shaq, others apologize for mocking Mich. man with genetic disord - New York News

Shaq, others apologize for mocking Mich. man with genetic disorder

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O'Neal has been highly criticized after posting this photo on his Instagram account. O'Neal has been highly criticized after posting this photo on his Instagram account.
Binion, 23, has since started the Facebook group called Hugs Don't Judge. Binion, 23, has since started the Facebook group called Hugs Don't Judge.
SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WJBK) -- Shaquille O'Neal has apologized for mocking a Madison Heights, Mich. man with a rare genetic disorder on social media.

O'Neal tweeted Tuesday, "Made a new friend today when I called and apologized to Jahmel Binion. Great Dude."

Several celebrities, including O'Neal, were heavily criticized on social media for teasing Binion, who has ectodermal dysplasia, a condition characterized by a reduced ability to sweat, missing teeth and abnormal hair growth.

Binion told FOX 2's Randy Wimbley he's been teased his whole life, but never thought he'd be bullied after posting a selfie on Instagram. He says people began recognizing him after O'Neal posted a side-by-side comparison of himself making a contorted face and Binion's selfie and the caption: "Smile today."

Binion says O'Neal told him on the phone he didn't realize the photo was of a real person, and thought it was photoshopped. The photo on O'Neal's Instagram has since been taken down.

Former University of Michigan athlete Trey Burke and Atlanta rapper Waka Flocka Flame also joined in on the teasing, but also apologized Tuesday.

"I wanna apologize to Jahmel Binion for being a *ss and making a mockery of him," Flame tweeted.

As for Burke, officials with the Utah Jazz say he also called Binion to apologize and invited him to the Palace of Auburn Hills next season when the Jazz play the Pistons.

In an email sent to FOX 2, Burke's mother also offered an apology from the Burke family, saying they are very sorry Jahmel "had to endure this embarrassment" and that Trey is "very remorseful." The Utah Jazz confirmed the email was sent from her.

Since then, Binion has launched his own anti-bullying campaign, called Hugs Don't Judge. In less than a week, the group has more than 10,000 members on Facebook from around the world.

Now, Binion says he's thinking about speaking in classrooms and hopes O'Neal, Flame and Burke will take part in raising awareness about ectodermal dysplasia.
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