The White House would like to assure Nicki Minaj that the plight of her cousin’s friend’s testicles has nothing to do with COVID vaccines.
Minaj said on Wednesday that the Biden administration had reached out to her in the aftermath of her megaviral series of tweets from Monday, in which she explained that the Met Gala’s vaccination requirement had kept her away from the event, that she still had “research” to do before deciding on whether to get the shots, and — in a message that prompted thousands of epidemiologists to slap their foreheads in unison — that her cousin’s friend had supposedly become impotent after being inoculated.
Per the AP, the Biden outreach is part of a broader effort to shoot down rumors and false claims:
The White House said that they’ve offered such calls with others concerned about the vaccine, part of an aggressive public relations campaign to beat back rampant disinformation about the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness.
The outlet also reports that the invite in question isn’t really an invite, simply a phone call. But that’s just semantics.
Such is the sway and reach of Minaj that authorities in several countries have weighed in to counteract her claims. Dr. Anthony Fauci (yes, him again) debunked the vaccine-impotence connection, which runs adjacent to common, incorrect assertions among the vaccine hesitant that the shots will interfere with fertility. Terrence Deyalsingh, the health minister in Minaj’s native Trinidad and Tobago, had to confirm that “ there is absolutely no reported such side effect or adverse event of testicular swelling in Trinidad.”
“Unfortunately, we wasted so much time yesterday running down this false claim,” he added.
U.K. prime minister Boris Johnson weighed in, too.
Thus far, Minaj seems unsurprisingly unmoved by all the fact-checking. She has fired off tweet after tweet defending herself, and endorsed Tucker Carlson’s framing of her vaccine pushback as a clarion call for freedom. A mere well-intentioned phone call may be the right step, but it probably won’t change her thinking much, nor undo the damage of this comical yet harmful episode.