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Nicki Minaj was wrong on vaccines — and conspiracy theorists ate it up

After falsely suggesting vaccines are linked to impotence, the rapper became a hero to anti-vax conspiracy theorists.

The Covid-19 misinformation storm has shown no signs of stopping.

As the delta variant continues to overwhelm local health systems across the United States, online misinformation about the virus and its remedies has proliferated and hampered any chance for the nation to move beyond the pandemic.

On Monday, the rapper Nicki Minaj stepped into the fray with dubious claims of her own. On Twitter, Minaj said she refused to go to this year’s Met Gala because proof of vaccination was required.

“They want you to get vaccinated for the Met. if I get vaccinated it won’t for the Met. It’ll be once I feel I’ve done enough research. I’m working on that now,” she said.

Photo illustration: Hands holding syringes facing in opposite directions.
MSNBC / Getty Images

On its own, that tweet wasn’t conspiracy — it was merely disappointing given the wealth of information available showing the efficacy of vaccines and the danger of remaining unvaccinated. In early September, the Department of Health and Human Services reported that Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia and Texas all had less than 10 percent of their ICU capacity left. Each of those states have high numbers of unvaccinated people, according to recent data. Across the U.S., vaccine resistance is fueling the spread of the highly infectious delta variant.

“My cousin in Trinidad won’t get the vaccine cuz his friend got it & became impotent,” Minaj wrote in another tweet Monday. “His testicles became swollen. His friend was weeks away from getting married, now the girl called off the wedding.”

You can mourn the swollen testicles of Nicki Minaj’s cousin’s friend without lending undeserved credence to a baseless claim.

There’s the full-blown conspiracy theory.

You can mourn the swollen testicles of Nicki Minaj’s cousin’s friend without lending undeserved credence to a baseless claim.

And to be clear, the idea that coronavirus vaccines cause impotence is a scientifically baseless claim. On the contrary, multiple medical studies have found a correlation between coronavirus infections and erectile dysfunction.

Minaj went on to say she’s “sure” she will get vaccinated to perform on tour, so she’s not the best face of the anti-vaccination movement. Nonetheless, her tweets opened the door to opportunists who are, and they leaped at the chance to tie one of the world’s most popular entertainers to their anti-hygiene movement.

By Monday night, multiple prominent figures in conservative media — some of whom are known to spread white nationalist views — were praising Minaj. And you can rest assured these people were not celebrating her because they’ve memorized all the verses to “Itty Bitty Piggy.”

If you were wondering what it would take for white nationalists on the right — like Tucker Carlson — to support Nicki Minaj, the answer is: wild medical conspiracy theories.

Head over to The ReidOut Blog for more.