After U.S. senator and 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren shared a video of Ashley Judd endorsing her for president, the actress' name began to trend on Twitter, though it wasn’t because of her political affiliation. As social media users watched the video, some began to criticize Judd's appearance, asking how much "work she had done."
My friend @AshleyJudd made a few calls to people who chipped in a few dollars to our campaign. I’m proud that our campaign is grassroots—built by people, not Super PACs or billionaires.February 11, 2020
"This makes me so sad," wrote one person in response to the video. "Ashley Judd used to be so beeeeeeautiful and it was a natural type of beauty but she’s had so much work done that she’s almost unrecognizable in this video."
As the criticism continued, the term "prednisone" also began to trend alongside Judd’s name as other defended the actress, who has opened up about using the steroid in the past to treat sinus infections. Swelling and weight gain in the face are common side effects of prednisone.
"So, disappointingly, [Prednisonse] is trending b/c people are making shitty comments about Ashley Judd's appearance," tweeted a fan. "I know that prednisone can certainly cause swelling but I honestly don't even see it on Ashley Judd. Her face looks better than mine on my best day, by far."
"I saw Ashley Judd was trending because her face is puffier due to medications for a chronic illness," added another. "You're a—holes for mocking anyone experiencing physical changes from an illness and, also, she's an absolute beauty!"
Soon, some Twitter users began to share their own stories of using prednisone, defending Judd by sharing images of themselves while on and off the drug.
"As someone who has been on high dose steroids for a medical condition for much of my life (and had the moon face to match) I'd just like to offer a heartfelt 'f– you' to anyone mocking Ashley Judd online right now," shared one person.
"Sad to see [prednisone] trending [because] [people] are making fun of ashley judd's appearance," wrote another person alongside before and after images. "The face swelling is a sucky side effect (here’s me off + on it) & we don't like it either, but its a small price to pay for those of us who need it to be able to function normally. stop bein rude."
In an op-ed she wrote for the Daily Beast in 2012, Judd had opened up after facing similar criticism.
"When I am sick for more than a month and on medication (multiple rounds of steroids), the accusation is that because my face looks puffy, I have 'clearly had work done,' with otherwise credible reporters with great bravo 'identifying' precisely the procedures I allegedly have had done," she wrote at the time. "The conversation was pointedly nasty, gendered, and misogynistic and embodies what all girls and women in our culture, to a greater or lesser degree, endure every day, in ways both outrageous and subtle."
Judd added that she hoped "the sharing of my thoughts can generate a new conversation" and that "if this conversation about me is going to be had, I will do my part to insist that it is a feminist one, because it has been misogynistic from the start."