Celebrities: Don’t Kill Your Fans!

Kevin Folta
3 min readSep 15, 2021

Bollocks Science Harms the Folks that Pay Your Bills

Killing the folks that clamor for your product or service is a poor business model. It potently selects against repeat customers. In fact, the power users that most consume and promote your product tend to be the first to take the dirt nap.

I only know the name Nicki Minaj because I raised a teenage niece. I haven’t heard the name in years. However, last week her tweet floated through my electronic transom. Apparently someone I follow monitors her family’s jewels.

The words may be sort of neutral, but the message is a clear statement to stoke vaccine hesitancy. She states that her cousin is opting out of a public health measure because someone he knows was vaccinated and now has swollen testicles. This third-hand-two-testicle account, followed by make your own decision, serves as an implicit warning to her followers.

First, the shot didn’t cause the swoll-nads. There are people that received the vaccine and a week later got in a car wreck. Others got the jab and got their hand stuck in a mason jar. Others were vaccinated and then watched Guy Fierri shove a whole pie in his face. Sometimes tragedies befall us and they are not related to earlier events other than sharing time’s arrow.

I know, she’s a rapper, probably not a medical expert, so who really cares?

It matters because she has 22.6 followers, fans that obviously suffer from some level of adoration, and likely place great trust the words she chooses to transmit.

Harmful to Fans and Followers

It is particularly tragic because her fan base likely skews with a black demographic, and according to the Kaiser Family Foundation African-Americans are lagging slightly in vaccinations, yet suffer disproportionately higher from COVID19 infection, hospitalization and death.

Much of this comes from a well-justified distrust of medical experts, but in a pandemic, celebrities like Minaj could represent a sizeable asset. Imagine if Minaj had the cojones to help reinforce a public health effort by working with scientists and physicians to encourage vaccination? She has 22.6 million more followers than Dr. Fauci, who doesn’t tweet because he’s trying to solve a pandemic.

She could be a solution instead of a problem.

From the Jab or The Clap?

Let’s face it, billions of shots have been given worldwide and here’s the first report of extra nuts in the bag. Rare symptoms have been identified, but never an association between the vaccination and swollen testicles.

And to call off the wedding over a pair of acutely large balls hardly fits under the jurisdiction of for better or worse, in sickness and health. The only hitch in getting hitched is that he’ll have to get his tux pants let out a touch. Sounds like this dude dodged a bullet.

Or perhaps the wife-to-be did. A case of orchitis is typically associated usually with chlamydia or gonorrhea, so the future husband was likely man-whoring with some bad woozle and now can’t wear bicycle shorts or sit down without an inflatable donut.

Minaj’s message might be one of STDs or marital fidelity, rather than a false association between vaccines and a critical public health effort.

In Conclusion

As scientists, physicians, or anyone interested in public health we attempt to communicate the importance of vaccination in the interest of protecting the vulnerable, our communities and economy. It is tragic that a celebrity with a massive following can trump our efforts with poor pandemic science.

Perhaps celebs like Minaj might realize that the people they are harming are the same ones that buy their music, watch their films, buy their fragrances, and keeping them vaccinated and alive is more important than dangerous communication of third party health hearsay.



Kevin Folta

Professor, podcast host, fruit tree grower, keynote speaker, good trouble.