Who Trolled Amber? | Tortoise Investigates

News #46News Commentary #10

Introducing… Who Trolled Amber?

What comes to mind when you think of Amber Heard? Liar? Survivor? Narcissist? Millions of us watched the celebrity trial of the century, Depp v Heard, in 2022. Amber Heard lost and Johnny Depp was vindicated. But what if Amber was actually the victim of an organised trolling campaign? What if the online hate against her was manufactured?

Alexi Mostrous, the reporter who brought you Sweet Bobby and Hoaxed, investigates what happened to Amber and who might have been responsible. It’s a story about how our own thoughts and opinions can be moulded without us even realising.

All six episodes of Who Trolled Amber are now available to binge-listen.

Who Trolled Amber is the latest series in Tortoise Investigates, the home of Tortoise's award-winning investigative series.

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If you want to get in touch with us directly about a story, or tell us more about the stories you want to hear about contact hello@tortoisemedia.com

Reporter and host: Alexi Mostrous

Producer: Xavier Greenwood

Editor: David Taylor

Narrative editor: Gary Marshall

Additional reporting: Katie Riley 

Sound design: Karla Patella 

Artwork: Jon Hill & Oscar Ingham

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

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Recent Reviews
  • dead_not_sleeping
    Phenomenal journalistic investigation
    Also gotta love there are ppl repeating the same talking points as bots and NPCs in the reviews for this show. People gaslighting themselves for free in the year of our lord 2024
  • Specarmi
    [Who Trolled Amber?] Interesting but absurdly biased
    I should have liked this podcast. When I was watching the trial play out on social media it did feel like many of the posts were inorganic. This show gives some convincing evidence that some of it was, and covers some interesting side stories along the way. However, I don’t think the question is just “did bots make negative posts about Amber Heard?” but, more importantly, “did bots convince people of something untrue about Amber Heard?” Among the many childish, trolling, and stupid posts about Amber, there were some convincing bits of evidence against her. Ultimately, I was convinced both her and Depp are bad people. If that evidence was completely fabricated, I’d like to know, but the show almost entirely avoids discussing any specific claims against Heard. The host repeatedly insists they won’t “relitigate the trial,” but this just comes across as an excuse to avoid confronting the more damning claims against Heard. Instead, they spend a lot of time painting her as an incredible rising star. Ironically, it seems like this show must have been made by Amber’s PR team.
  • EmLovesEveryCat
    A must listen!
    An incredibly important, well researched podcast. Really makes you question who is driving the public narrative, and more importantly, why.
  • cinderelochka
    Law student here who is disgusted by the heard season
    May I remind you, Tortise producers, that the depp v heard trial was broadcast to US ALL…. those who watched it, in real time, NOT fragmented on TikTok or filtered through hateful lenses on either side, know exactly who the victim was here. It is indeed MR DEPP. The jury agreed. You were there too, right? By the sound of this show makes me thing we watched something different? Just baffles me how dangerous it is for MSM to continue to peddle this false narrative that Ms Heard spun for YEARS. WE ALL BELIEVED HER. don’t forget that either. What a Shame and waste of my time this listen was. Ms Heard is no victim. Please research the FACTS.
  • imtifflish
    Both Can Be True
    Did Amber get trolled: YES! Was she an abuser: YES! Both can be true. This podcast was eye opening and well presented, I really enjoyed every episode.
  • CSMomof3Boys
    I was home from work with Covid and watched the trial. Johnny Depp is a strange character, but harmless and likable. Amber came off as fake, unhinged, and terribly unlikable. What she did in that bed was beyond disgusting. She deserves her reputation.
  • fieldglass oh my
    Glad i didn't.....
    Watch the trial that is better than this.....😂😂😂😂
  • CordeliaReagan
    Almost never misses
    Had to stop listening to the season on trans healthcare because it honestly felt like the whole season was debating the existence of trans young people and adults and I just couldn’t take it lol trans people have always existed and will continue to exist. That said - every other season is so on point. The latest one about Amber Heard truly hits the nail on the head. It’s impossible that such a deluge of weirdness and hate could have come from actual people online, it’s uncanny what happened and I’m so glad that Tortoise is reporting on it
  • Cjkim76
    This podcast is rubbish. First, it’s forgotten that MANY Americans actually watched the entire trial online. Watched as Amber was terribly fake-crying with ZERO tears. Watched as it was proven that her photos were doctored. Let’s say there were bots. Do not discount the jury AND the viewers who watched the entire trial unfold from seeing all the evidence laid out. It was a no-brainer. We were NOT confused but was a woman I was so angered that a person like AMBER tried to bucket herself with actual true victims. And I find it ironic that leverage is actually being used that a tabloid like the Sun won against Johnny. Where the owner of the Sun has history of dishonesty from the royal family and also has a relationship with the judge who tried the case in the UK. SHAME ON THIS PODCAST for being a part of the coup of Amber Heard.
  • MishiBurg
    Gonna defend Manson next?
    Amber Heard was not a victim, and this is not journalism. It is biased. If you want to defend women who are doxxed or otherwise attacked online, there are plenty of legit subjects.
  • mjsaysbye
    For all the women who aren’t believed 💗
    Great investigative journalism! I’m happy that there are now podcasts like this that are shedding light on the vitriol hatred amber heard experienced and what it means going forward for other victims.
  • molly stoffel
    Great investigative work and analysis
    Who Trolled Amber is absolutely fantastic. It’s terrifying how easily bad actors, if they have enough money to throw at it, can shape public opinion through social media manipulation, astroturfing, and online disinformation campaigns. Really glad someone is doing this investigative work and looking at the impact of information manipulation, inauthentic social media activity, online conspiracy theorists, disinformation/misinformation, and the troubling ways truth can be manipulated.
  • Calix79
    Too much of host.
    Potential to be a great podcast exposing what happened to Amber. If only the host stopped making it about his thoughts and feelings. Less of him and more storytelling please.
  • Mizerella
    All conspiracy theories with No Proof
    Host briefly mentions in one episode he is working with Heard and her team so it makes total sense now why this podcast is so biased. This really is just a a couple msm reporters getting together complaining about how the public was able to see the trial for themselves and didn’t accept the medias attempts to spin things
  • Suzie's thoughts
    Amazingly informative!
    This podcast opened my eyes to the power of internet bots and trolls! Social media is global and the power to be influenced is staggering! This is a must listen for anyone who wants to understand outside influence on world wide politics! Listen before it is too late!
  • KenEdelberg
    No one trolled her
    Amber was the abuser. There was actual evidence to back that claim up. Just the tertiary overview of what I heard from episodes of this podcast, I would like to know all who funded this podcast. I watched the whole trial and Amber failed to prove that Johnny was her abuser. What was proven was that Amber was the one who was abusive in the relationship. Show us your evidence.
  • Koliebug
    Voicing opinions about people who actually watched the trial who didn’t watch the trial
    A podcast host who didn’t watch the trial opining on those of us who actually watched trial and believe AH lied. Investigating a topic should include watching the complete trial. The trial is available online and should have been used as the core fact finding proof.
  • angrylf
    Totally ignores relevant info
    Amber Heard’s unconvincing testimony doomed her in court regardless of what online campaign was waged online. Ultimately this series is frustrating, misleading and kind of silly because this isn’t addressed upfront in the first episode. It’s like they’ve taken Heard’s side from the start so you really can’t take it seriously. Good production values but poor reporting and analysis.
  • Featherfidler18
    Rewriting history?
    I watched the trial, and my opinion of what happened was solely based on the evidence presented at trial. I don't feel like this trial hurt the me to movement at all, it showed that men can be victims also. This podcast is presenting Amber's evidence as if it were all true and we know it's not. People hated her because of her personality not because they all love Johnny Depp. Was somebody paying for bots ...maybe. Did she lie about abuse? Absolutely. Do people get really upset when somebody lies about abuse? Absolutely.
  • jipjopflop
    Great podcast
    Love the in-depth exploration of the propaganda against Amber Heard. Next you should explore the unrelenting vitriol against Meghan Markle!
  • Caron Bryan
    Who Trolled Amber
    Bots? This would’ve been good had you listened to the whole trial. It’s fake? Ambers voice said it all.
  • laallison
    I have enjoyed everything up until season 4. The Tavistock host amplifies a lot of harmful opinions under the guise of “just looking at both sides.” She seems to be letting her bias show a little.
  • JLSD4
    Some great investigation and some highly skewed
    There is some impressive investigative reporting and production in tortoise media - in particular with Alexi. However, some of the reporting is done from a pre-existing opinion that is resistant to being changed and educated. The narrating reporters’ opinion is quite obvious, and interviews are highly skewed to one side. I think Tortoise can do better than this.
  • GrumpyGryder
    Can’t make this stuff up
    The story called Sweet Bobby is incredible. This examination of probably the most gullible person on Earth is surreal and Kirat’s interviewer showed great self restraint in not reacting honestly to her pathetic tale.
  • Spadalsky
    Who’s healthier now
    People that didn’t get the vax are not dying of heart attacks at an enormous rate
  • Deb n Hank
    Season 7 - terrific
    As an American listening to the Giuliani saga, I finally see the threads between magnificence and desperation. Excellent work.
  • Samantensen
    Season 6 - strong anti-police bias
    As entertaining as the story-telling is, this is not an example of proper reporting. Reporting should represent a holistic view of an issue, including the points of view of both sides and working hard not to color in the gaps with interpretation. This season sorely fails on that level. It’s good storytelling but not good journalism. They use the sincerely awful missteps, mistakes, and outright lies of the specific officers of the time to leverage a blanket indictment of all policing in the country today. Almost nobody in policing today had anything to do with Nikki’s case, but they are held to answer to you despite that fact. It’s narrow-sighted to draw such a dramatic conclusion based off one example, and it’s irresponsible to encourage listeners to take an attitude of distrust with their local police. Most of your listeners have never had an experience with police so should not be drawing conclusions about them now. What about the thousands of positive interactions that people have with police all the time? What does your message do that’s productive and helpful in a society where most police officers do seek to serve safety and aid to their community? Why should they be vilified in this story, which they have nothing to do with? How precisely does this story told this way help communities? You should have taken your opinions to today’s police and given them ample space to respond to your accusations and offered that as a counter-balance to your bias. When reporting an accusation, good journalists will seek out the accused and give them the space to respond and be heard. It’s the responsible thing to do.
  • B689
    Not that good
    Seems to be just giving space uncritically to anti trans arguments. A person who briefly worked a the clinic got lots of interview time. Vut she said she hadn’t even heard of gender identity ol she started at the clinic. Maybe that’s why the clinic wasn’t a good fit for me u
  • OofiOofster
    Real journalism.
    The continuation of this horrible saga needed to be told! I would listen to anything by Alexi. He represents actual journalism & produces quality & unbiased content, real life stories told with empathy & kindness. There are sooo many junk podcasts out there that all belong in the trash. BUT THIS IS TYPE OF PODCAST YOU SHOULD ALL BE LISTENING TO!
  • XanCam2727
    Fantastic Podcast
    Simran Bhogal is a sociopath and deserves to be punished. She will no doubt do it again because she lacks the humanity to care about others and will put her own twisted desires first. Great job telling the story!
  • KateJessie
    It saddens me that people blame this woman. She would go back to her cousin to confirm things regarding Bobby and how many of us might believe our cousin? That’s the game changer here. Without her cousin confirming Bobby loved her and plans a life with her she would have gotten out much sooner. Well done and I hope only for the best for Karet and her cousin should have been prosecuted.
  • sarahbrookeee
    Story could be told in 30 minutes
    First and foremost, Alexi did a really nice job putting this podcast together. I really enjoyed listening to him. I’ll give it 5 stars for his work. That being said, this podcast could have been a 30 minute episode. I felt it was completely overhyped and the catfish wasn’t really that crazy. Kirat was a really sweet, but painfully gullible girl who fell for a catfish for 10 full years. That’s really the entire story. I hope she has been able to move on and heal.
  • quail
    Confused storytelling obscures an interesting story
    The issues of this story in an age of online disinformation and scams are relevant and interesting. It’s also important to recognize coercive control in abusive relationships. I expected this podcast to shed light on these thing and help me understand how someone gets drawn into a cult of two, but I just ended up more confused. The host keeps saying the story will blow our minds, but the content is mostly “Kiran says she was wronged and we are her advocates to insist there is a illegality here somewhere.” There is no distance that allows them to show how the coercive web was woven and dig into how the family and cultural norms assisted the scammer. The host’s timidity in the face of the scammer and the family, as well as his reluctance to examine how Kiran needed Bobby to be real and thus unwittingly assisted in the cruel scam, undermines the story. Missed opportunity.
  • S. Sáenz
    At the end of episode 3 I was screaming, “WHAT?!” Alexi is a great interviewer. Kirat seems so lovely and I’m gutted for what happened to her. This story leaves you with so many questions and lots of frustration. It could literally happen to anyone, no one is above this kind of deceit.
  • willisataylor
    Mid show
    I liked this show well enough. Felt like the male host was constantly asking the subject of the show “didn’t you feel this way about things??” and she would be like “I guess?” Like bro let her tell her side of it. I also really didn’t like the turn the show made mid way through.
  • ruthiefromtheheights
    A great podcast to binge.
    Thank you kiran for sharing your story. What happened to you was horrific and I hope there is some sort of justice in the future. Everyone leaving negative comments about kiran have never understood whats it like to be emotionally manipulated and coerced.
  • LindsMama
    the mouth gurgles-help
    I nearly couldn’t finish this because of the poor editing of every slimy swallow-I am so glad I’m not the only one-good grief. Otherwise would have been a great, easy listen
  • stellarfruit
    how is this the world’s most sophisticated catfisher
    perhaps I have been desensitized but I’ve heard crazier stories on many episodes of the show Catfish that get told in under 45 minutes
  • AMSG2020
    Complex and Intriguing
    I had to binge this podcast. There is a lot going on. The story telling is excellent especially since the story is rather involved. The reveal ….left me angry and sad. I was left wanting to know more.
  • kcrcrr
    good god
    Why did the make the interviewees’ swallows and gulps and wet mouth sounds so loud? I must know.
  • Negativestar
    Excellent investigative journalism. Some other podcasters can learn a lot from this.
  • Whatever sarah121
    Pathetic comments
    You have to be absolutely deluded to think that this could never happen to YOU specifically, yet it happens to everyone all the time. This is the same logic used to blame victims constantly. Genuinely hope those of you who commented that she’s an idiot realize how absolutely brain dead you are. Genuinely pitiful. You all sound lobotomized. Use your CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS. READ A BOOK. EMPATHIZE WITH A HUMAN BEING. Before you comment from your high horse I hope you know how utterly BORING you are and how little you have to contribute to conversations like this. Thank god for journalists and academics. The lack of social cognition in this review section is BEYOND concerning.
  • joe_m9
    Strong storytelling, underwhelming by the end
    I think the narrator does a great job with building suspense and cadence, but all that buildup seems to be wasted by the end. It takes an interesting turn about halfway through, and then really fizzles. Unfortunately, the narrator keeps that suspenseful tone even when there’s not much left to report, which seems insincere. All that hype for nothing.
  • June 6 2010
    How? Why? This could never happen to me…..
    But it can. And it did. I related to this story albeit my story would not make a wonderful podcast. Kudos to Kirat and her willingness to share her story.
  • Ivryp
    Mind Blowing
    Exposing the truth
    Boo hiss
    Massive waste of time. “Victim of online harm?” What? 10 years. Get a grip lady. Or a brain at least.
  • nicolenoelle890
    Good narrator but ridiculous story
    The podcaster himself is interesting and easy to listen to. He is very talented, however this women is an idiot. It’s embarrassing to be of the same species as her. Anyone who falls for stuff like this, kind of deserves it 🤷🏼‍♀️
  • Bvg1981
    So many thoughts!
    Anyone who has ever been in the influence of a malignant narcissist will have a deep connection to parts of this story. As soon as the “reveal” of the catfish was made, my brain immediately started spinning and relating this story to my two experiences of working directly for someone who scored highly on the “dark triad” scale. Suddenly this whole podcast made sense. And OMG. I’m so glad I’m not in those employment settings anymore.
  • bwslk
    Psychology of victim?
    Without victim blaming, I’d like to hear more about the psychology of how a person falls into this trap. For example, in cult stories they give context of what kinds of people are particularly vulnerable to cults. The catfisher I think just liked toying with a vulnerable person she saw as weaker, like a cat playing with its prey
  • Merovengian
    Love is the motive.
    So many great things about this podcast. The story, reporting, production, host and the subject Kirat Assi. I loved that by seeking justice for what happened to her by letting her story be known to millions is brave and will probably help people avoid her fate. Publicizing her story in this way will/have result in consequences for Simran, her cousin. I do think however it would also be nice if there was some time spent on self-reflection on Kirat’s part. It isn’t victim blaming, if after being burglarized, you spent time going over weakness in your home security protocols. Maybe she couldn’t have known that Bobby wasn’t real, but maybe she might have ended things when she found herself lying to her family, quitting her job all while never having an in person conversation. I also think there is room for empathy for Simran. I read that to imprison someone the jailer must also be in prison. For every hour of the ten years that Kirat lost, Simran likely spent four times that much time in setting things up, covering tracks, and just regular relationship time with Kirat: hours of conversation, phone sex, the I love yous, planning for the future. The motive is the same motive everyone else has when engaging in relationship forming behaviors, love. The world is filled with abusers who think they love their victims. But judging from the sheer time and effort Simran put into her charade, if not love, then passion was driving her.
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