HomeViralNicki Minaj Fans Unleash a Digital Storm, Doxxing Online Users Who Refuse...

Nicki Minaj Fans Unleash a Digital Storm, Doxxing Online Users Who Refuse to Stay Silent


On Jan. 27, Erick Louis, a content creator who posts comedic commentary on TikTok, was driving to his boyfriend’s apartment when he got a call from his brother saying that a pizza that no one ordered had arrived at his parents’ house with his name on it. Notifications began flooding his phone as he received call after call from unknown numbers.

The contents of the texts and notifications led Louis to surmise that he was being targeted by fans of Nicki Minaj. The day before, he had posted a video criticizing the rapper’s controversial new song “Bigfoot,” a diss track aimed at Megan Thee Stallion. Minaj’s fans, known online as the Barbz, retaliated by doxxing him, sharing his old address and current phone number on X (formerly Twitter).

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“My phone starts blowing up with text messages, and I’m getting FaceTime calls back to back to back,” Louis, 24, says. “It was a hectic situation to be in. I was nervous and on edge the whole time.”

Sending a pizza to someone’s house may seem relatively harmless. But the practice of doxxing has led to relentless harassment and abuse online, especially toward journalists, critics, or anyone perceived as being unsupportive by a fan group. When Pitchfork gave Taylor Swift’s folklore an 8/10 rating on their site, for example, the author of the review was doxxed, harassed, and sent death threats by some diehard fans of the singer. Louis is just one of the many who have faced retaliation from fervent fans who equate criticism with hatred and will band together to silence their favorite artists’ detractors.

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But the act of doxxing rarely sees consequences. While social media platforms ban users who are found to violate their anti-doxxing policies, it doesn’t fully eradicate the problem. According to CNN, while Meta, TikTok, and X all have policies against doxxing that ban users who violate these terms, whether users could face legal action for doxxing depends on jurisdiction and intent. Lauren Kilgore, an entertainment attorney, and partner at Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP, says that because of the complicated nature of laws surrounding online harassment, punishment and justice for the victims depend on the specifics of the conduct. Also, the artists who are criticized or defended online rarely comment on the issue.

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When his brother called about the pizza delivery, “My heart dropped to my stomach,” Louis says. “I was thinking of the various ways it could have escalated and how this not only endangered my life had I been there but also the lives of my mother and my two younger brothers who were in the house. These are people I’m responsible for.”


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