By Ashley Dunkak
CBS DETROIT – Former Michigan basketball star Trey Burke, longtime NBA star Shaquille O’Neal and rapper Waka Flocka Flame took to Twitter to apologize for mocking a Michigan man with a rare disorder characterized by missing teeth and abnormal hair growth.
The man, Jahmel Binion, took a picture of himself, posted it to Instagram and was promptly mocked, with Shaq snapping a self-portrait that mocked Binion’s appearance. Burke, who now plays for the Utah Jazz, and Waka Flocka Flame reportedly joined in the teasing. Binion suffers from ectodermal dysplasia.
Binion told Fox 2 he has been laughed at and stared at his entire life, but he hardly expected such a response – particularly from celebrities – when he put a selfie online.
“People were coming to me, they were telling me, ‘You’ve got a picture, Shaq posted a picture with you,'” Binion said to Fox 2. “I was kind of hurt, because I look up to him.
“I’m like, ‘Why’s he making fun of me when he’s supposed to be this role model?'” Binion added.
The man resolved to be positive nevertheless.
“I’ve got a mind view like, ‘I can’t let it get to me,'” Binion added. “Then I’d get hurt and depressed, so I just keep my mind high and positive.”
O’Neal, Burke and Waka Flocka Flame have all publicly apologized for their actions.
Binion responded to all the hubbub by creating a Facebook page entitled, “Hug Don’t Judge.”
“Rather than bully that person,” Binion said, “go up to them and show them you’re different from everybody else.”