“Ball-gate” just stopped being funny. Nicki Minaj, who has been under fire for spreading anti-vaccine misinformation over the past week, is now doxxing and threatening a reporter who reached out to her relatives in Trinidad for comment on the story. Nicki posted photos and shared the WhatsApp phone number of the reporter on her Instagram Story, calling the reporter “a dirty hoe” and claiming that her family is hiding out from reporters.
Nicki shared WhatsApp screenshots of the conversation via her cousin in which the texter identifies themselves as a Trinidad Guardian reporter named Sharlene Rampersad and asks whether he’s the cousin Nicki referred to in the original tweet. Although there’s no way to confirm that the text actually came from the named reporter, the texter asks to speak with Nicki’s cousin, and if possible the friend whose wedding was supposedly canceled due to adverse reactions to a COVID vaccine, as Nicki’s original tweet suggested.
However, this reporter crosses a line by intimating that a competing outlet, CNN, is also pursuing an interview. The texter suggests that CNN would reveal personal information about the cousin — something against the journalistic integrity policy of any legitimate news outlet — and assuring that the Guardian would not. Aside from being the dirtiest of dirty pool, this sort of thing isn’t common practice at most outlets and is actually against the law in many jurisdictions.
Nicki, interpreting this messaging as a threat, went off, posting the WhatsApp phone number that reached out to her cousin, as well as two photos of the reporter. Screenshots can be seen below.
Nicki Minaj reveals her family in Trinidad is being harassed by reporters following her comments regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.
“They’re forcing my family to have to hide out. This is what speaking up looks like. Millions of poor people are treated this way…” pic.twitter.com/LgmtetxF6t
— Pop Base (@PopBase) September 17, 2021
While Nicki certainly has a right to be upset at the unsolicited contact, there’s 1. no proof that the texter actually is this person, and 2. absolutely no call to violate a person’s privacy to her 157 million Instagram followers, many of whom have previously shown a penchant for cyberbullying people just for sharing their unfavorable opinions of her latest singles. While Nicki insists that she’s being targeted for “asking questions,” the truth of the matter remains: The “questions” she’s asking have already been answered several times over, and her spreading misinformation is a dangerous tactic that could very well get more people hurt. The COVID-19 coronavirus has killed well over 650,000 people and conspiracy theories only harm the distribution of vaccines meant to save lives.
However, if the person who reached out to her relations really is the named reporter, then shame on her as well for violating so many tenets of journalistic integrity in the pursuit of a quote. She should, however, be reprimanded by her employer, not terrorized by online vigilantes at the behest of an angry musician — especially not one distracting from the serious work being done to combat the spread of a deadly pandemic. That hasn’t stopped Nicki from also lashing out on Twitter, tagging Rampersad in an all-caps rant quoting a day-old tweet criticizing her for spreading misinformation.