Less than 24-hours after ex-NBA star Shaquille O’Neal tweeted out a picture of him mocking one of his fans on Instagram, he has apologized to the man in question, Jahmel Binion, reports ABC News. In a tweet addressed to his fans, Shaq announced,
— SHAQ (@SHAQ) April 30, 2014
Jahmel Binion, who suffers from a rare condition known as ectodermal dysplasia which distorts his facial features, was (in)famously mocked by Shaquille just a day ago. The mocking tweet was received with disdain by Shaq’s eight million followers on Twitter and the public in general, evoking sharp responses. At the same time, there was an outflow of support in favor of Jahmel, who also started an online campaign titled “Hug Don’t Judge,” on Facebook. That Facebook group has over the past few hours become a meeting place for people who suffer from ectodermal dysplasia and for relatives of people suffering from the condition. Many people have posted pictures of themselves and of their relatives to make Jahmel feel better and to tell him that he is not alone.
In less than 24 hours, it has been a huge turn around for Jahmel who has now become an overnight star. For the man, who has Facebook photos of himself with the tagline “I’m a star,” this is perhaps the best thing that has ever happened – albeit it started on the wrong note.
A photo posted by television and radio host Glenn Beck also went viral when he came in support of Jahmel Binion.
Meanwhile, Shaquille followed up his apology with another mesage that read:
“Had the opportunity to talk to Jahmel Binion yesterday and apologize about the post on IG!”
According to Shaquille’s spokesman Rishi Daulat, the tweets that went out from Shaquille’s ID were personally written by Shaq himself. The original post and photo that Shaquille had uploaded to Instagram has since them been taken down. So far, Jahmel Binion has not reacted to Shaquille’s apology, but we do expect to hear from him soon.
Meanwhile, after The National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias wrote an open letter Monday to O’Neal saying “bullying is never acceptable,” they have toned down their stance against him and has welcomed the move to apologize to Jahmel Binion. In a Facebook post on their page, they wrote:
“We are happy about Jahmel Binion’s post in #hugdontjudge that Shaquille O’ Neal privately apologized to him. It is a good first step. We are hopeful that he will express that same sentiment to the entire ectodermal dysplasias community and join us to raise awareness of these rare disorders. Together, we could work to assure that all children and adults affected by ectodermal dysplasia, like Jahmel, get the smiles they deserve.”
Do you think Jahmel Binion deserves more than an apology from Shaquille?
[Image via Facebook]