Update: On Feb. 14, Ashley Judd shared a public note on Facebook in response to the “misogynistic savages” who criticized her appearance in a recent video. The actress revealed she has been dealing with migraine and, in addition to weight gain due to restrictions on her ability to exercise, the actress was prescribed Botox.
“What I know is that I have been sick with siege migraines for over a year,” Judd wrote on Facebook. “We all lose control over the experience of our bodies on occasion and need grace when we do. You will have it from me when you do. Have I had botox? It is a standard treatment for the ailment that I experience.”
Judd previously posted on Instagram in August 2019 she was in the hospital for migraine treatments. She added in her Facebook post:
Earlier this year, my neurologist pain specialist banned me from anything but mild walking exercise. My last siege migraine lasted a grueling four and a half months. Along with medication, and the inevitable laziness that gathers around forced inertia, I have experienced some un-fun weight gain.
People began sharing before-and-after photos of their faces on the steroid medication prednisone on Twitter Wednesday, in support of Ashley Judd, whose appearance was mocked on the platform.
On Tuesday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) posted a video in support of her presidential campaign featuring Judd. The tweet went viral after actor Dean Cain, best known for his turn as Clark Kent/Superman in the 1990s, shared the video of Judd along with the comment, “I’m not exactly sure what to say here… I certainly have nothing positive to say, so I’ll be quiet.”
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.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) February 11, 2020
Though Cain did not specifically reference Judd’s appearance in his tweet, Twitter trolls attacked Judd and made fun of her appearance because her face looked “puffy” in the video.
In response, some Twitter users pointed out that women on social media often face bullying for what they look like. Others resurfaced a 2012 Daily Beast article where Judd pointed out how poorly women are treated online as well as explained that her puffy face — the cause of speculation in 2012 — was due to the medication prednisone.
“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,'” Judd wrote in 2012, adding:
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. The assault on our body image, the hypersexualization of girls and women and subsequent degradation of our sexuality as we walk through the decades, and the general incessant objectification is what this conversation allegedly about my face is really about.
"Patriarchy is not men. Patriarchy is a system in which both women and men participate. It privileges, inter alia, the interests of boys and men over the bodily integrity, autonomy, and dignity of girls and women." — Ashley Juddhttps://t.co/rDB2829JGU
— Kimberley Johnson (@AuthorKimberley) February 12, 2020
Ashley Judd has been open about the effect that chronic illness medications have on her face.
Why would anyone think that attacking a woman’s physical appearance is a suitable response to her social activism?
Not only is it sexist, you’re admitting you have no counter argument.
— Palmer Report (@PalmerReport) February 12, 2020
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 "fuck you" to anyone mocking Ashley Judd online right now.
— Towanda the Avenger (@kendallybrown) February 12, 2020
Everybody mocking Ashley Judd right now is ableist trash… People like you are the reason why everyone felt comfortable bullying me as a disabled kid who regularly took #prednisone to keep my chronic illness at bay.
— Pro-Intersectional Feminism (@iwritefeminism) February 12, 2020
Prednisone is a corticosteroid that’s most often used as an anti-inflammatory or immunosuppressant to provide symptom relief for people with cancer and many chronic illnesses, including Crohn’s disease, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and asthma. However, for all the relief it can provide, prednisone comes with some notorious side effects such as tremors, difficulty sleeping, fluid retention, weight gain and facial swelling, sometimes called “moon face.”
“I have very mixed feelings about prednisone. It is a wonder drug. But I hate having to take it,” Mighty contributor Rosie Koina wrote in an essay about the drug’s side effects.
In Judd’s defense, people with chronic illnesses shared photos of how their faces changed while taking prednisone. The photos also show how important it is to not jump to conclusions about facial and body changes — like the characteristic “moon face” of prednisone.”
After being released from the hospital in 2008 due to a serious stomach illness, I was put on prednisone. It gave me a puffy face, as you can see below. But without the prednisone, I wouldn’t have even been working, let alone standing, with Obama. Leave Ashley Judd alone. pic.twitter.com/OOya61z8uo
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) February 12, 2020
— Gregory "The Rolling Quill" Coley (@Ghreggori) February 12, 2020
Three photos of me:
The 1st is July, 2014. The 2nd is after several months of prescribed Prednisone in June, 2015. The 3rd is October of 2016, after being off Prednisone for ~9 months.
I'm sharing these because Ashley Judd is not alone.
I am not alone.
You are not alone. pic.twitter.com/eIZUStxsdC
— Justin Yandell (@ShotgunZen) February 12, 2020
I was shocked to see #prednisone trending. And for a really ridiculous reason too. As a kid I hated the side effects of it. From 6-12 it was a daily med. Too many adults thought it was fun to comment and/or pinch my cheeks. I hope it is helpful to Ashley Judd at least. pic.twitter.com/tJinBfea7y
— GeekGirlForever (@scifichick25) February 12, 2020
This breaks my heart. Taking #prednisone is no joke. It saved my life. The side effects are horrific. Whoever is making fun of Ashley Judd is cruel.
Here’s what I looked like when I was almost done tapering off after 4 years.
I was unrecognizable
Be nice-it could happen to you https://t.co/7U6cDRnROJ pic.twitter.com/AyaIV47PMh
— Shasta Rayne ⭐️ (@Shasta_Rayne) February 12, 2020
On left is Prednisone “moon face”, on the right my normal face. Prednisone is cheap and it works, but it makes you puffy, angry, and leeches calcium from your bones. Lay off Ashley Judd. pic.twitter.com/tZWcH8pAIG
— Noel (@Frogerta) February 12, 2020
The Mighty reached out to Ashley Judd for comment and has yet to hear back.