Trey Burke sued despite apology

Submitted by PeterKlima on July 31st, 2014 at 10:01 AM

Trey Burke has been named in a Macomb County lawsuit seeking over $25,000 in damages (minimum that has to be mentioned in the complaint).

This arises out of unfortunate joking about the guy on Twitter, that Shaq mocked, who turned out to have a rare disease.  Shaq and Waka Flocka were also named as defendants.  It is unknown if any of the other, non-wealthy, re-twetters were also named, but for some reason I doubt it.

While I feel bad for the guy, I do not think the actions were intended to be hostile AND all three apologized to him privately and publicly.  In my opinion, this should not be a viable cause of action.

The defendants are wealthy and they made a social media mistake. 

Law firms are businesses that need money and publicity.

If you have strong feeling about this and you are a recoverable potential party, please watch your comments.





July 31st, 2014 at 10:23 AM ^

Making fun of a celebrity's drunken mistakes is satire.  Taking a random picture off the internet of someone you don't know who is not a public figure and making fun of the way they look is not satire.  It's being an asshole.  I've never seen Colbert grab someone from the audience and make fun of the hairlip on TV.


July 31st, 2014 at 10:57 AM ^

It's fair to critcize/satirize what people say or believe in the public forum.  It's not fair to do the same for what people are, or what they look like (yes, I do realize people can/will claim grey area between the two in certain cases).  It's fair for Michelle Beadle to take Stephen Smith to satirize Stephen Smith on his comments/beliefs about 'provocation' in domestic violence.  It's not fair for her to satirize him because he's black, or she doesn't like his face.  For the record, I'm very much in the camp of erring on the side of offending, before going all Farhenheit 451 on society.  But in this case specifically, man, I just think it's such an asshole move for Shaq/Burke to make fun of some random dude's face for millions to view in a public way.

Plus, satire is mock done with a purpose; to point out logical flaws or beliefs.  Mocking the way someone looks accomplishes none of that.  It's still just being as asshole.

Monocle Smile

July 31st, 2014 at 11:15 AM ^

This is tone-trolling nonsense. Ridiculous beliefs deserve ridicule.

Satire breaks desensitization. Sometimes people don't realize they hold ludicrous beliefs until people make fun of them. I don't agree with the kid-gloves approach. Rational arguments are only effective once you crack the shield and get people wondering why they're being mocked.


July 31st, 2014 at 1:23 PM ^

I would just like to point out that your position is ridiculous and I hereby heap ridicule upon it, because it deserves it.

Wow, that was productive. Don't you just feel your shield cracking under the weight of my non-gloved blows?

Basically it's just a way to justify being an ass for the sake of being an ass. Mocking is easier and more fun than opening actual dialogue (that might require questioning YOUR OWN beliefs, yuck!), so let's build a theory to justify it.  Your "mock ludicrous beliefs" works if you own a monopoly on defining "ludicrous". But in the world where people honestly sincerely believe things you think are ludicrous, if your default response is "just make fun of them" then you're going to get one of three reactions: they will immediately get defensive/aggressive, they will be shamed/annoyed into not publicly stating their beliefs as much, but will still hold them, or they'll honestly reconsider their position. The first two will be orders of magnitude more common than the third.

There's a difference between "mocking" and "satire". Good satire makes you laugh, maybe get a bit red in the face if you're the target, but makes you think. It has an honest intent to make the targets reconsider or look at things in a new way through humor. Mocking is just making someone feel bad / making yourself feel superior, and who cares what the target thinks cuz they're backward idiots amirite?

The line between "satire" and "mocking" is particularly fine when it's the powerful mocking the less powerful. Then it looks an awful lot like bullying and you're more likely to create sympathy for the target.

Monocle Smile

July 31st, 2014 at 2:35 PM ^

There's a difference between "mocking" and "satire".

Correct. I guess because the above poster didn't feel the need to make this distinction, I missed it. I appreciate this.

I should have added that mockery MUST be followed or supplemented with rational arguments and evidence. I'm also a bit myopic, as I can't remember the last time I was one of the "powerful mocking the less powerful."


July 31st, 2014 at 2:21 PM ^

"persuasion by means of sound logic is far more effective and respectful than mocking a person" Well, it's certainly more persuasive than mocking a person, but sound logic isn't actually that persuasive (e.g., climate change deniers). Appealing to emotions, pointing out personal gain, etc. are far more effective.


July 31st, 2014 at 11:10 AM ^

Yes becuase you're in their brain and you know they were intentionally mocking him for his disability.  When I first looked at the picture of the guy I didn't see disability, I just saw a guy with dental issues doing an overbite to appear to look tough.  Perhaps Shaq was thinking he was just making fun of a regular dude who was trying to front?

Assuming makes an ass out of you and you.

Not to mention, Shaq makes fun out of everything and every one, and I highly doubt he had any clue this guy had a disability.


July 31st, 2014 at 11:53 AM ^

I don't need to be in their brains because their actions showed their intentions.  The fact the guy had a rare genetic disorder is completely irrelevent.  If he was just a 'regular' dude with bad teeth and an overbite trying to look tough, he's still just some random guy who Shaq thought was ugly and mocked publicly on twitter to thousands of other sheeple who then followed suit.  That's still an asshole move.


July 31st, 2014 at 3:17 PM ^

I just watched a Ricky Gervais HBO special where he mocked/satired obese people for 45 minutes, all while saying "I'm not having a go."  It was very funny but I guess he's an asshole?

Everyone who's followed Shaq for 25 years knows he loves nothing more than to clown around.  He meant no harm,  he just meant to generate fun, but sometimes jokes bomb.  

Many celebrities are lauded as so wonderful  just for  even showing up and paying attention to people,  and speaking with them and signing autographs.  How do you know Shaq wasn't thinking to himself "I'm gonna make this dude's day by paying him attention, and showing that I'm perfectly content showing myself to be an ugly bastard too by making a face?"

I'm 99% sure Shaq and Trey didn't know the dude had a disability.  Only if they did would your point hold any water.


July 31st, 2014 at 10:49 AM ^

When the thing that people believe is flat-out wrong, pointing out their errors is not just okay, it's often the right thing to do. If they believe the Earth is flat, or that the Earth is 6,000 years old and humans rode dinosaurs to work, or that organic foods contain more nutrients, saying "you're wrong" is good. We don't have the need to tolerate incorrect "beliefs" just because people firmly believe them.

Besides, in any setting, challenging people on what they believe (including, and possibly especially, through satire) is an appropriate exercise.


July 31st, 2014 at 3:09 PM ^

People drove cars built out of stone and wood and had to be started and stopped with thier feet.  

Instead people used dinosaurs like kitchen appliances and to excavate rocks before we had machines to do that stuff.

I think that is where the confusion comes from.


July 31st, 2014 at 10:20 AM ^

I'm not condoning the choice to mock anyone, and I actually completely agree with your philosophy.  

But even so, it seems ridiculous to me that making a joke about someone would result in the joke maker having to pay the subject of his joke...even if it was a bad joke, made in bad taste.  And again, only if the joke maker happens to be rich.


July 31st, 2014 at 10:08 AM ^

If WWIII ever breaks out, we are done for.  50 years ago, someone mocked you and you went outside and settled it with a few punches.  Then you went and drank a beer together afterwards.  Now you just go to court and someone gives you $25000.  What a joke.


July 31st, 2014 at 10:31 AM ^

Yeah but what that guy said was complete crap and not true 50 or 100 years ago either.  Its a huge fallacy that people are softer today.  Oh no we recognize the impact that things have on people, depression is a real disease our society has gone to shit. Its machismo bullshit, it has never been true and people 50 years ago were just as big of assholes and just as petty as they are today.


July 31st, 2014 at 10:53 AM ^

We are so much weaker as a society. A kid can fucking rage in Target and the mom can't do anything without worrying about the cops or being ridiculed. A timeout threat is the max, which then results in the kid getting a toy (reward) for being a maniac. Millennial employees are a nightmare to manage (Google it). We are a society now that encourages a gun or lawsuit instead of the courage to address issues. Sorry for the rant.

Ivan Karamazov

July 31st, 2014 at 11:34 AM ^

If you really believe millenials are a nightmare to manage you should just retire right now. IMO it takes a lot more courage to to adress the issue of why your old mamagement techniques aren't connecting with the yonger workforce as opposed to sitting back on your heels and ranting about how things used to be. Sorry for the rant (and sorry if you aren't actually managing millenials).


July 31st, 2014 at 11:59 AM ^

Jesus christ no we are not, I am sorry that you feel like the ability to threaten your child with physical abuse has somehow taken away the ability to parent but thats just a lazy excuse.  I was never hit once and neither was anybody I know and most of my friends are working 60 hours a week in entry level jobs after successful college careers just like people who were fortunate enough to go to college 50 years ago.  Sure millenials think more should be given to them, but if you have a problem with millenials blame your own damn self, it was your generation who raised us to be pretentious and think we were owed everything. Pretty much every physoclogical study has shown positive reinforcement to be better for development of a child.  It requires more work, you can't cop out by beating your kid or just by giving in and getting them a toy, you actually have to take time with the kid and not everyone does that but that doesn't make the approach wrong.  Giving a kid a toy to shut them up is being a lazy parent, hiting a defensless child to get them to shut up is also being a lazy parent.

Society isn't soft today, you just equate violence and physical aggresion with strength, just like the other poster did with his comment about wwIII, which is also dumb since those tough sons of a bitches had such clear victories in vietnam and korea.  Everyone likes to remember the past as better, thats great, have fun with that but morals aren't degrading they are getting stronger every year, society is better now than it was 50 years ago, more innovation is happening than ever before and we are taking small baby incremental steps to an actually equal society, if that means some people are a little pretentious at 22 then that works for me.