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Nicki Minaj's Cousin's Friend, also known as Ballgate, refers to a tweet posted by rapper Nicki Minaj relating her "cousin's friend" allegedly took a COVID-19 vaccine and developed swollen testicles and impotence as a result, leading his fiancée to call off their wedding. The tweet was mocked for sounding implausible, and some joked about the alleged vaccine side effects described by Minaj.
On September 13th, 2021, Nicki Minaj tweeted, "My cousin in Trinidad won’t get the vaccine cuz his friend got it & became impotent. His testicles became swollen. His friend was weeks away from getting married, now the girl called off the wedding. So just pray on it & make sure you’re comfortable with ur decision, not bullied." The tweet gained over 18,000 retweets, 83,000 quote-tweets, and 102,000 likes in less than 24 hours (shown below).
The tweet was quickly mocked for sounding implausible. Some Twitter users parodied it by relating outlandish tales about events that happened to their friends or acquaintances. For example, user @MrPLitchfield joked, "My mates window cleaner in St Ives took the vaccine and did a massive fluorescent shit in the shape of Matt Bianco, and now the tide wont come back in!", gaining over 140 retweets and 1,300 likes (shown below, left). User @BryanBehar joked that the symptoms described were more likely gonorrhea than vaccine side effects, gaining over 320 retweets and 2,200 likes (shown below, right).
Others made jokes specifically about the "swollen testicles" portion of Minaj's story. For example, user @Rajat_Suresh posted, "Told nicki Minaj some sensitive info about my testicles. She’s a really good friend so I can trust her not to tell anyone about it," gaining over 1,900 retweets and 49,000 likes (shown below, left). User @PFTCommenter joked, "Leaving Trinidad in a couple hours. Ran into a unfortunate medcal situation and dont have shorts that fit anymore. Hope everyones doing well," gaining over 300 retweets and 7,000 likes (shown below, right). Jokes were covered by multiple publications, including Junkee and Buzzfeed. Twitter posted an Events page compiling tweets from medical professionals explaining there is no link between the vaccine and infertility.
Multiple public figures commented on or joked about Minaj's story. This led Minaj to fire barbs at some of her critics on Twitter, including Piers Morgan, Joy Ann Reid, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Nicki Minaj responds to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson after he spoke about her during a coronavirus briefing. pic.twitter.com/3c0ljN6IyG
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) September 14, 2021
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