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.
So Nicki Minaj simply shares her opinion and bravely admits that she is unsure about the side effects of the vaccine and they SILENCE her for it?
— 🎤💨🐉 ADA ✴️ SALI 💿✨🔮 (@AdaSaliMusic) September 15, 2021
#freenicki how dare yall try to silence her.. this is not okay and wrong. This is why people do not want to get a vaccine. You humiliate and degrade them. unnaceptable!
— Black Tea Blog (@BlackTeaBlog) September 15, 2021
— Rainha dos Incels (@RAIDA_QUEEN) September 16, 2021
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.
— DANNY HENDRIX❤️🔥 (@xdannysinsx) September 16, 2021
Remember when rappers pushed for free speech and no censorship. It’s happening again. #freenicki
— Eliza (@elizableu) September 15, 2021
— Queef Queen (@Queefy_Tingz) September 15, 2021
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.
It took Trump inciting a whole riot for them to disable his Twitter but Nicki asking questions is where they draw the line…. when you’re a black woman there are no privilege even when it comes to your 1st amendment right #FreedomofSpeech #FreeNicki
— Onika Promotions (@OnikaPromotions) September 15, 2021
Wouldn’t be shocked if Twitter & other social media companies give Nicki Minaj the Trump treatment and completely ban her from all platforms. #FreeNicki
— The Columbia Bugle 🇺🇸 (@ColumbiaBugle) September 15, 2021
I’m starting to notice.
ATLANTIC has made some phone calls and wrote some big checks these past few days.
This is the 4 public speaker to make a comment “Team Cardi B” in the middle of discuss about a global pandemic
— RomansMindofPeaches (@MindofRomans) September 16, 2021
#freenicki You know what’s funny ? the more people come after Nikki. the more red pilled she’s going to become. if you have an opinion you should be allowed to say it. Even if it’s something you don’t like. That’s called freedom of speech. pic.twitter.com/IxsI3sAttV
— Jed From Pop Culture Archivists 🈁 ♉🤓🐸 (@JedTesdToad) September 15, 2021
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.