It’s safe to say Nicki Minaj wasn’t exactly on the radar of British prime minister Boris Johnson before all this – but she well and truly is now.
It all started when the 38-year-old star set the internet ablaze with a tweet claiming “the vaccine” had left her cousin’s friend impotent. His testicles had become swollen and the woman he was due to marry upped and left him. “So just pray on and make sure you’re comfortable with your decision, not bullied,” she added.
Her tweet came to the attention of Boris Johnson and Chris Whitty, the UK’s chief medical officer, when they were asked about it during a press conference. Both men criticised Nicki for spreading misinformation to her 22 million followers, or Barbz, as she calls them.
"There are a number of myths that fly around, some of which are just clearly ridiculous and some of which are clearly designed just to scare,” Whitty told the media. "That [Nicki's claim] happens to be one of them."
Johnson brushed the singer off with typical British sarcasm. "I am not as familiar with the works of Nicki Minaj as I probably should be,” he said. "But I am familiar with Nikki Kanani, a superstar GP of Bexley who has appeared many times before you, who will tell you vaccines are wonderful and everybody should get them.
"That's why I prefer to listen to Nikki Kanani.”
Nicki, who is originally from Trinidad and Tobago, responded with a bizarre tweet in which she records herself speaking in a mock English accent, claiming she was born in the UK, went to Oxford University and was at school with former prime minister Margaret Thatcher.
Criticism has rained down upon her from many quarters, with a British media personality calling her “one of the rudest little madams I’ve ever met”. The 10-time Grammy nominee reacted by changing her Twitter bio to “Rudest little madam” along with a British flag.
Trevor Noah also chimed in on The Daily Show. “Nicki, let’s be real. You’re not getting in a lab and doing tests. At best, you’re reading other people’s ‘research’.”
Earlier this week, Nicki skipped the Met Gala – one of the most high-profile and glamorous events of the year – because she hasn’t been vaxxed and the event allowed only vaccinated guests.
Nicki claimed she was avoiding public events because she has a baby at home. In September she and husband Kenneth Petty welcomed a son, whose name they haven’t released but who she calls Papa Bear on social media.
However, she has said she’s “sure I’ll be vaccinated as well” as she needs to go on tour and an increasing number of venues are insisting on so-called vaccination passports.
As the fallout continued following Nicki’s infertility tweet, Dr Anthony Fauci, who has been at the forefront of the US’ Covid-19 response, was asked in an interview with CNN if there was any evidence that the Pfizer, Moderna or J&J vaccines could cause infertility issues in men or women.
"The answer to that is a resounding no,” he said. “There's no evidence that it happens."
SOURCES: LADBIBLE.COM, DAILYMAIL.CO.UK, THEVERGE.COM; THEGUARDIAN.COM; BUSINESINSIDER.COM