Nicki Minaj 'called to White House' as Covid tweet sends world leaders into tailspin

The famous rapper made false claims about the effect of Covid vaccines

Nicki Minaj, who caused a storm this week after tweeting to her 22.6 million followers that Covid-19 vaccinations made her cousin in Trinidad impotent, was offered a personal briefing from a White House doctor.

The tweet not only went viral but also sent world leaders, trying to accelerate vaccination rates, into a tailspin.

The controversy started when Minaj addressed rumours that her absence from the Met Gala was due to the vaccination policy.

She said her absence was due to childcare but also tweeted: "They want you to get vaccinated for the Met. If I get vaccinated it won’t be for the Met. It’ll be once I feel I’ve done enough research."

Soon after that, she sent out the tweet about her cousin.

Minaj's false claims were quickly refuted by experts and doctors, but the controversy continued through the week.

It led to internet memes, Twitter fights with varying media personalities and an invitation to the White House for a coronavirus briefing.

On Wednesday, the White House offered to connect Minaj with one of the administration’s doctors to address her questions about the Covid-19 vaccine.

The White House said that it offered such calls with others concerned about the vaccine, part of an aggressive public relations campaign to beat back rampant disinformation.

Nicki Minaj tweeted “the White House has invited me” and “yes, I’m going”, but a White House official said the rapper was simply offered a call.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the leading US infectious disease expert, dismissed the claim as misinformation during an interview on Tuesday with CNN.

“There’s no evidence that it happens, nor is there any mechanistic reason to imagine that it would happen,” he said.

Meanwhile, in the UK, a coronavirus briefing turned to Minaj's Twitter comments, pulling in prime minister Boris Johnson and his Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty into the conversation.

Mr Whitty, like Mr Fauci, dismissed Minaj's claims.

"There are a number of myths that fly around, some of which are just clearly ridiculous,” he told reporters. “Some … are clearly designed just to scare. That happens to be one of them.”

Mr Johnson, on his part, said he was not familiar with Minaj.

That prompted her to tweet a voice note message in a fake English accent saying she went to “university with Margaret Thatcher”.

Shortly after that, UK morning show host Piers Morgan waded into the fray and had a tense back-and-forth with the rap star.

Mr Morgan wrote on Twitter, “she’s peddling lies that will cost lives,” and called her “one of the rudest little madams” he has ever met.

Minaj responded: “I’d love to come chat. Scones. Tea. Clown nose & big red shoes for you.”

Shortly after the exchange with Mr Morgan, Minaj changed her Twitter bio to “Rudest little madam”, followed by the emoji of the Union Jack.

Minaj did not stop there.

She continued to "like" tweets peddling false claims about the vaccines and also sent tweets to other media personalities.

Minaj began a feud with Joy Reid, host of MSNBC's “The Reid Out” after the anchor said she was saddened that Minaj used her platform to “encourage our community to not protect themselves”.

On Thursday, Trinidad and Tobago's health minister also commented on Minaj's tweets, dismissing the impotence claims.

The Caribbean country had found no evidence of a patient with such side effects and officials had “wasted so much time yesterday running down this false claim", Terrence Deyalsingh said.

Minaj, despite the backlash, did have a surprising defender - Fox News's Tucker Carlson.

Mr Carlson, who has often spread false vaccine information himself, said the rapper's views on the vaccine seemed “sensible”.

Other Fox News hosts also jumped to Minaj's defence.

Laura Logan, a host on Fox Nation, applauded her for “refusing to surrender her freedoms”.

Despite the Twitter fighting, Minaj said she will eventually be vaccinated because she has to go on tour.

Updated: September 16th 2021, 10:27 AM
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