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New Discovery

New Discovery: Who Trolled Amber?

We look into a documentary with real weight

3:00 PM GMT on February 29, 2024

    The latest offering from Tortoise is Who Trolled Amber?, a six part investigation into the online abuse that shaped the public narrative around the Johnny Depp v Amber Heard trial in 2022. Tortoise have a good track record with this stuff, with Dr Anti-Vax being well received in Autumn of last year, and a truly big hit, Sweet Bobby, generating a buzz since 2021.

    The man who drove both of those investigations is Alexi Mostrous, and he’s behind the wheel again for Who Trolled Amber?. Mostrous is at pains to point out that this is not a celebrity story, or rather that it is far more than just a celebrity story. The central issue our host wants to explore is how we absorb information in the 2020s and whether someone could take advantage of that for their own ends. If public opinion can be orchestrated in such a way then that has implications for individuals like Amber Heard, but also for law and democracy heading into a year of crucial elections worldwide.

    That significance is a crucial part of the podcast’s appeal. I’ve listened to numerous documentary podcasts this year which have been thoroughly researched, well put together and enjoyable. But none have had the urgency of Who Trolled Amber?. Unlike many documentary podcasts, this feels like information that will be important to know.

    This is what makes the show so engaging. The first two episodes are out now, and waiting four weeks for the subsequent episodes to release and resolve all of this suddenly feels like a very long time (premium subscribers can indeed binge the whole thing right now). While these first two episodes feel significant enough on their own, the story is due to go to some truly wild places before the end of the season. It truly makes you question what the world could look like following a year in which billions of people, each of them quietly absorbing opinions through social media, go to the polls.

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