They get unfathomably furious when she goes to the shops. They froth with vitriol when she dares to open her mouth on television. Now the latest—and perhaps strangest—thing that Johnny Depp's troll army loves to attack Amber Heard with is her own beauty.
"She didn't deserve this beauty," moaned one Tik Tok account that attracted half a million likes and thousands of comments in agreement. "The real definition of never judge someone by their looks," grumbled another, in a post that was just as popular.
Other accounts are gleeful about the aging process, because apparently older women aren't attractive. "Can you imagine how sad a woman Amber Heard will be when her beauty fades?" asked one Twitter account. "Beauty fades, better bag you some old dude before you're too old," said another.
While a third lot of trolls meanly compared her looks to others—Kate Moss, of course, the supermodel who stuck by Johnny, or his ex-wife Vanessa Paradis of whom he wrote in a text message to Elton John: "extortionist French c***." But Vanessa was a good girl, she stood by Johnny and therefore all is forgiven.
Because the real—unspoken—problem with this beautiful woman is that she dared to open her mouth and criticize a popular man. She had the audacity to talk about her poisonous and abusive relationship with an older multimillionaire who has made a handful of good films and a bucketful of bad ones. For that she will never be forgiven. What a witch! Burn her! Or, as Johnny wrote to his friend Paul Bettany: "Let's drown her before we burn her!!! Will f*** her burnt corpse afterward to make sure she's dead."
This new obsession with Amber's facial loveliness started when someone unearthed a 2016 story about how a British cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Julian De Silva, said Amber had the perfect face according to the Greek Golden Ratio phi—which measures distances on the face from the nose to the top lip and the lip to the chin.
To say that has sent the deranged attack dogs onto Amber's scent would be an understatement. Even as they acknowledge her beauty, they turn it to poison. The idea that Amber bewitched Johnny with said beauty has become so prevalent there are social media accounts linking the actress to the old TV series about witches, Bewitched. Because of course it was her fault that Johnny fell in love with her.
The idea that women use their beauty against men is practically as old as time. Dear old Eve using her womanly wiles to tempt Adam into betraying himself was perhaps the first example—the misogyny of that story echoes down our culture in the West.
It's why in many places women are still forced by men to hide their beauty—their ankles, their hair, sometimes even their eyes. Because otherwise their attractiveness will lead men astray. Amber's surface beauty is the excuse they need—she bewitched him and she made him do those bad things that he did. The victim is the real perpetrator, or as other social media attacks have it, "a snake in the grass" and "venomous."
None of us need reminding that we still live in a misogynistic culture—however many gains women have made, there are always men to bring us down and try and control our bodies. That some males—people who know that a beauty such as Amber would never once look their way—are incensed at the audacity of Amber to speak is one thing.
But the saddest thing about this internet hatred is that some of it comes from women too. Yes, we all love to judge, and many of us may have been hurt by the beauty of another—a boyfriend, husband or girlfriend may have had their head turned—but one reason why the patriarchy is so powerful is that women can be quick to turn on one another.
No one 'deserves' beauty; it's a gift just as an ear for music, a way with numbers or a brilliance at languages is. And no one deserves to be attacked simply because they are beautiful.
When it comes to Amber, who has seen her career stalled, her wealth under threat and her life taken up with this battle with her ex for four years, perhaps the judges on the internet, so quick to demand real beauty needs to come from the inside too, could look to themselves, see what they have written and recognize the ugliness within.
Nicole Lampert is the former showbiz editor for The Daily Mail. The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.