Music

Nicki MInaj Fans Get #FreeNicki Trending And Conservative Pundits Are Joining In

After three days of backlash to her tweets about refusing COVID-19 vaccines until she’s “done more research,” Nicki Minaj claimed to have been locked out of her Twitter account. Twitter’s administrators say they’ve taken no such action against her, but her say-so was enough to prompt her fans to get #FreeNicki trending. Unfortunately, as her COVID tweets hewed pretty closely to the Fox News playbook of “just asking questions,” it didn’t take long for conservative pundits like Jack Posobiec and right-wing Twitter trolls to hijack the trend for their political theater wargames.

Call me crazy, but if the people tweeting Pepe memes are siding with you — the same people who were holding tiki torches in Charleston and putting their feet up on desks at the Capitol building — it might be time to examine your commentary and start issuing some retractions. Nicki has already backpedaled from one of her more outrageous claims: The tweet that could be said to have more or less caused all this chaos to begin with. Trying to provide an example of the sort of thing she fears from vaccines, she relayed the tale of her cousin’s friend in Trinidad, who supposedly canceled his wedding after a vaccine side effect gave him swollen testes and impotence.

You don’t need to work at Snopes.com to see through that one, and Nicki was roundly roasted by users on Twitter, Stephen Colbert, and even Trinidad’s Health Minister for spreading vaccine misinformation. However, right-wingers like Tucker Carlon and Candace Owens were only too happy to jump on the Nicki Minaj bandwagon (remember when they did the same to Kanye West?), placing the rapper firmly on the side of folks who only see her as a prop and not as a person. Lest we forget, these are the same people who either ignored or outright derided Nicki up until now and would likely have continued to do so were it not convenient for them to pretend to defend her.

However, even with all the hot air they’ve blown, Nicki’s Barbz and reactionary defenders do actually kind of have a point: Donald Trump was allowed to spew anti-vaccine conspiracy nonsense for almost a year before Twitter disabled his account. However, like most of their arguments, it also falls apart on the slightest scrutiny — among the differences between them, Nicki is not a public official whose statements need to be preserved for historical purposes and Twitter says it did not remove her access to her account. One thing they do have in common, though: Neither’s First Amendment rights were violated because its protections only extend to the Federal government and do not cover sedition or being a public safety menace.

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