Hip hop icon Nicki Minaj has made some of the biggest hits of the 2010s, but her latest viral moment has come from an eyebrow-raising claim she made about the Covid-19 vaccine. Minaj tweeted the vaccine gave her cousin's friend in Trinidad swollen testicles and made him infertile and canceled his engagement.
It was a perfect storm of "my cousin's friend's mother's neighbor knows somebody..." stories.
The claim made so many waves the phrase "swollen balls" has been trending on Twitter ever since Minaj made the claim Monday night.
And Dr. Anthony Fauci is among those who are having none of it.
So much so he actually went on CNN to address the claim which—spoiler alert—is wildly untrue.
Hear Dr. Fauci's two cents below.
"The answer to that, Jake, is a resounding no" -- asked about Nicki Minaj's tweet regarding her cousin's friend's b… https://t.co/Ee9ezK2i33— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1631651383.0
If Dr. Fauci's tone is any indication, he's about as exasperated with all this anti-vaccine rumor-mongering as the rest of us.
Asked by Jake Tapper whether the vaccine will indeed make your balls swell, Fauci tersely replied:
"The answer to that, Jake, is a resounding no. There's no evidence that it happens, nor is there any mechanistic reason to imagine that it would happen. So the answer to your question is no."
Minaj made the claim on Twitter during a series of tweets Monday night sparked by the Met Gala's requirement all attendees be vaccinated.
Minaj, who is normally a fixture of the event's red carpet, first admitted she has not been vaccinated because she hasn't "done enough research."
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 do… https://t.co/aL4ucdg78a— Nicki Minaj (@Nicki Minaj) 1631568090.0
After that tweet went viral and generated tons of pushback, Minaj doubled down with the dubious story about her cousin's friend's testicles.
My cousin in Trinidad won’t get the vaccine cuz his friend got it & became impotent. His testicles became swollen.… https://t.co/xQJa2xi9TX— Nicki Minaj (@Nicki Minaj) 1631569446.0
That tweet, of course, went even more viral, and generated no shortage of angry responses from people upset someone with such a large following would sow doubt in the minds of her followers.
Fauci addressed this too in his comments to Jake Tapper.
"These claims may be innocent on her part — I'm not blaming her for anything — but she should be thinking twice about propagating information that really has no basis except a one-off anecdote. That's not what science is all about."
All due respect to Minaj, but her cousin's friend's balls aren't really relevant to the already answered question of the safety and efficacy of one of the most technologically advanced vaccines of all time.
To her credit, Minaj did go on in subsequent tweets to recommend people follow vaccine mandates and said she would most likely end up getting vaccinated herself. But the absurdity of the whole "cousin's friend's balls" thing was pretty hard to overshadow.
And on Twitter, people couldn't help but lament the absurdity of this entire situation.
@atrupar The Director of the NIAID going on national television to discuss Nicki Minaj’s cousin’s friend’s alleged… https://t.co/hZA6QLwoZq— Ron Filipkowski (@Ron Filipkowski) 1631651888.0
@NBCNews We all know that Nicki's cousin's friend just slept around and got gonorrhea, but hey, giving the benefit… https://t.co/xmG23vvnTW— 🇬🇧 Jacob M. Abbott 🇨🇦 (@🇬🇧 Jacob M. Abbott 🇨🇦) 1631719246.0
@atrupar How....... How...... HOW is this a thing. How?! .......how could anyone take a story about a pop singer’… https://t.co/gZzxxiOnGB— ᎷoRᎠᎬNᎢ 🎻 (@ᎷoRᎠᎬNᎢ 🎻) 1631652129.0
@NBCNews The fact this even needed to be "debunked" is sad.— e_michael 🔵🇨🇿 (@e_michael 🔵🇨🇿) 1631719339.0
@atrupar Are we actually discussing the state of Nicki Minaj's friends cousins brothers sisters... balls? https://t.co/Er953VldBR— Norrin Radd - Intergalactic Man of Mystery! (@Norrin Radd - Intergalactic Man of Mystery!) 1631651799.0
Still split on whether to listen to Dr. Fauci or to Nicki Minaj’s cousin’s friend’s voluptuous nutsack— Frank Lesser (@Frank Lesser) 1631575531.0
Minaj has yet to respond to Fauci's comments.
But she has beefed with Meghan McCain, Piers Morgan, MSNBC's Joy Reid and the British Prime Minister over their responses to her tweets, so it may just be a matter of time unil Nicki-Minaj's-Cousin's-Friend's-Balls-gate takes a new turn.