Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh has been broadcast on media stations around the world, discrediting claims made by popular Trini-born rapper Nicki Minaj that her cousin’s friend got swollen testicles as a result of taking a COVID-19 vaccine.
CNC3’s The Morning Brew host Jason Williams was also interviewed on the issue by US-based host of The Daily Show, Trevor Noah, for last night’s edition of the show.
Both Deyalsingh and Williams were recognised on Twitter for their responses to Minaj’s claim that her cousin in Trinidad was scared to take the vaccine because his friend took it and became impotent.
Health experts around the globe debunked Minaj’s claim that impotence and swollen testicles were linked to COVID-19 vaccines.
Deyalsingh was also asked to address it on Wednesday and said the ministry had wasted time all day on Tuesday trying to find any report of those types of reactions to the vaccine. He said Minaj’s story was false.
Deyalsingh’s statements were picked up by international news sites such as the BBC, CNN, Reuters and several entertainment blogs and sites.
A clip of Deyalsingh debunking Minaj’s claims was also featured on late-night shows in the US, including The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Colbert opened his commentary saying, “Yesterday, Trinidad’s Ministry of Health was inundated with requests to fact-check this claim, so today their public health minister made this announcement.”
He then showed a clip of Deyalsingh saying there were absolutely no reports from T&T or anywhere in the world showing impotency and swollen testicles were a side effect of the vaccine.
Colbert then jokingly asked, “Sir, are you calling Nicki Minaj a liar? Cause to do that takes some really big…wait a second now I know why he’s hiding behind that giant table.”
On Jimmy Kimmel Live, Kimmel showed a shortened version of Deyalsingh’s statement, saying jokingly at the end, “Well, that’s a relief, now we can visit.”
He also repeated his offer to speak to Minaj’s cousin’s friend if the man was willing.
The Morning Brew host Williams was also recognised for his response to Minaj’s statements on Twitter.
“Here is how the Nicki Minaj story was covered on CNC3 television in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. I assure you this is worth all 2:20 and it’s probably better than how any US network covered the story,” Timothy Burke wrote.
He attached a clip from Wednesday’s The Morning Brew show, which up until 6 pm yesterday, had already been watched 1.4 million times.
In the clip, Williams recalled the Carnival Tuesday incident between Minaj’s husband, Kenneth Petty, who pushed away the hand of soca star Iwer George as he attempted to engage Minaj on a music truck while performing, prompting a swift social media backlash.
“She would have made some outlandish statements over the years but this one takes the cake. This is like something you will hear by a neighbourhood parlour, where somebody would tell you well they cousin friend neighbour say x,y,z,” Williams said.
He chided Minaj for her statements, saying she should do better because she has many followers who listen to her.
Williams said Minaj’s claims were irresponsible on all fronts, adding, “Even on a personal note, even it is the case, to expose your cousin’s friend flat tyre in the public domain like that...if the man has a flat tyre, ok, he will work on that. There are herbs and punch and certain things the man could eat and bring back ah vibes.”
Williams also noted that health experts had to debunk Minaj’s statements. He ended his commentary calling for better from Minaj.
“I honestly expected better and besides that outlandish statement, she always talks about Trinidad and she from Trinidad, she’s yet to collaborate with somebody from here but that’s a talk for another programme on another day,” he said.
Twitter exploded with praise for Williams and his commentary, with many users asking for links to see his programme live every day.
“I vote for this host to take over Meet the Press. He would be infinitely better than Chuck Todd,” Twitter user Art Martin wrote.
“This is excellent coverage tbh. Our freaking networks are more likely to round up a panel of Trump voters and ask them about their thoughts,” Sam Morey wrote.
Others commended Williams for putting Minaj on blast.
“Da**. She reps her own island but doesn’t support their own artists. Man put her on blast,” Jose said.
Another user wrote, “I would have to deactivate my whole Twitter account if Trinidad read me like this.”