White House offered Nicki Minaj phone call to answer questions about COVID-19 vaccine
American rapper Nicki Minaj was offered a phone call with a White House doctor to answer any of her questions she may have about the COVID-19 vaccine, not a visit as the artist claimed on her Twitter account, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
On Wednesday, Minaj wrote that she would be dressed in all pink "like Legally Blonde" upon her visit to the White House and would ask questions "on behalf of the ppl who have been made fun of for simply being human."
During the Thursday White House press briefing, Psaki addressed the claim, stating the White House did reach out to Minaj, offering a simple phone call with a health expert who could answer any questions about the COVID-19 vaccine following a controversial tweet the artist published earlier this month.
"First, we don’t see this as a point of tension or disagreement, I want you all to know that we engage, all the time, with people who have big public platforms or profiles. Some of them we talk about, some of them are here, some of them you don’t even know about because they’re just looking for questions to be answered. We offered a call with Nicki Minaj and one of our doctors to answer questions she had about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine," Psaki said on Thursday.
FILE - Rapper Nicki Minaj is seen arriving to the 2019 Met Gala Celebrating Camp.
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"It was simply an offer to have a conversation, an early-stage call," Psaki added.
Following her tweet on Wednesday claiming she had been invited to the White House, Minaj posted on her Instagram stories and claimed she was in "Twitter jail," and alleged the platform "didn’t like" what she had been posting and appeared to put restrictions on her account.
However, a Twitter spokesman told Buzzfeed on Wednesday evening, "Twitter did not take any enforcement action in the account."
Minaj tweeted earlier in the day claiming that the White House had invited her to visit after she revealed her hesitancy to get the COVID-19 vaccine on Twitter earlier in the week.
After posting her tweet sharing her apprehension about getting the vaccine, Minaj responded to a Twitter user writing "I can’t speak to, agree with, even look at someone from a particular political party. Ppl aren’t human anymore. If you’re black & a Democrat tells u to shove marbles up ur *ss, you simply have to. If another party tells u to look out for that bus, stand there & get hit."
Minaj’s claim against Twitter came days after she published a controversial Sept. 13 tweet in which she claimed her cousin in Trinidad had a friend who, without any scientific evidence, claimed the COVID-19 vaccine made him impotent and caused his testicles to become swollen.
Minaj’s post was met with a tidal wave of backlash on social media.
The rapper also said she wasn't vaccinated and was still deciding whether she would get the jab, tweeting ahead of the Met Gala, "They want you to get vaccinated for the Met. if I get vaccinated it won’t [be] for the Met. It’ll be once I feel I’ve done enough research. I’m working on that now. In the meantime my loves, be safe. Wear the mask with 2 strings that grips your head & face. Not that loose one."
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The artist was lambasted by critics including MSNBC host Joy Reid, who called out Minaj on the air. Minaj saw the clip and responded via tweet, "This is what happens when you’re so thirsty to down another black woman (by the request of the white man), that you didn’t bother to read all my tweets. ‘My God SISTER do better’ imagine getting ur dumb a-- on tv a min after a tweet to spread a false narrative about a black woman." Minaj went on to call Reid "a lying homophobic c--n" in another message.
Minaj’s unproven anecdote regarding her cousin’s friend is just one among an onslaught of COVID-19 misinformation that has flooded social media since the onset of the pandemic.
Federal health experts are sounding the alarm on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter where misinformation can spread quickly. In July, the U.S. surgeon general declared misinformation a public health threat.
"We need an all-of-society approach to fight misinformation. And that’s why this advisory that I issued today has recommendations for everyone," U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said during a news conference in July.
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Murthy asked technology companies to monitor misinformation more closely.
"We ask people to raise the bar for sharing health information by checking sources before they share, to ensure that information is backed by credible, scientific sources," Murthy added. "I think in a moment like this when we see misinformation literally costing us our loved ones, costing us lives, we can be more accountable and responsible for the information that we share," Murthy continued.
The deluge of false claims about the virus has challenged multiple platforms. Twitter and Facebook each have their own policies on COVID-19 misinformation and say that like YouTube they attach labels to misleading content and remove the worst of it.
The Associated Press, FOX News and FOX Business contributed to this report.