“Hug Don’t Judge” – Shaq Learns How Not to Be a Jerk?

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Jahmel Binion got some unwanted attention from Shaq…why haven’t celebrities learned not to mock others?

Glen Wheelock, Civil Rights Correspondent

Last week former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal, who has always been very popular and loved by all came under fire for a post of his on Instagram. Shaq posted a picture of himself making a snarled lip and squinted look next to a picture of a man named Jahmel Binion 23, who has a rare disease called ectodermal dysplasia, which causes him not to perspire, his hair to not grow, his teeth to come in grooved, and his skull to form irregularly. Under the caption “Smile today” the post received over 14,000 likes. Former Michigan basketball star Trey Burke and rapper Waka Flocka Flame also joined in on the “fun” by posting their own pictures of Jahmel.

Being teased and stared at ever since he was little, Jahmel used to look up to and respect O’Neal for all the community work he does and how he has always been able to be everyone’s friend. Hearing the news from a friend that he was being mocked by Shaq on Instagram, Binion was shocked and hurt. A man he once respected was now just another bully. Jahmel said when interviewed by FOX News “I’ve got mindview like I can’t let it get to me because then I get hurt in the process, so I just keep my mind high and positive.” But despite trying to stay positive, Jahmel said he was still hurt by the comments.

After reports came out on how Jahmel felt about the post, Shaq looked like nothing short of a bully to most people. Shaq quickly removed the picture from his Instagram account and made a phone call to Jahmel’s personal cell phone to apologize. Afterwards Shaq tweeted “Made a new friend today when I called and apologized to Jahmel Binion. Great dude. #alwayslearning #MYBADCUZ” in effort to make amends. Shaq reports that mocking Jahmel personally wasn’t his original intention; whether or not Jahmel feels he has a new “friend” is open to debate.

Since Shaq has close to 600,000 followers on Instagram, it would be pretty easy to argue that the damage was already done.

Jahmel says he appreciates the apology but feels it isn’t enough. He says that this; didn’t just offend him but instead everyone who looks different and is mocked for it. In effort to raise attention to the “hate” we put on others for simply looking different, Jahmel has started an open group called “Hug Don’t Judge.” With currently almost 22,000 members on Facebook, Jahmel feels confident in his cause and hopes everyone can learn a little something from the inconsiderance Shaq and others displayed. He wants us to go up to someone and let them know that everyone’s different in their own way and that it’s nothing to be ashamed off or to be ridiculed.

To become a member of “Hug don’t Judge” join their Facebook page or follow them on Instagram. And think twice next time you laugh at someone for having a simple deformity.