Belle Gibson is an Australian blogger who claimed to have cured her terminal brain cancer through conventional cancer treatments like diet and alternative health related therapies.
She is the owned of the phone application ” The Whole Pantry ” which was an application that had thousands of healthy recipes. She used the terminal brain cancer claim in order to help promote her application in the app store.
In March 2015 it came to light that Gibson had made up her stories about suffering from cancer and had also lied about her age as well as other personal details about her life.
She was found to be living a very profligate lifestyle and was renting an upmarket town house and also driving a luxury car. She also is have thought to have used money earned from her application to go through dental procedures and also purchase designer clothes. She was spotted on many holidays too.
People have described her actions as ” Predatory ” and ” Deceit on a grand scale ” for her own personal gain and profit.
Consumer Affairs Victoria announced legal action against Gibson on May 6th saying she had made false claims of terminal brain cancer in order to make a personal gain. They said she had boasted of her rejection of conventional cancer treatments and went in favor of natural remedies.
” Penguin Australia Pty Ltd, publishers of The Whole Pantry book, had cooperated with the investigation and agreed to make a $30,000 donation to the Victorian Consumer Law Fund, acknowledging that it had not taken adequate steps to verify Gibson’s claims prior to publishing the book.”
It was estimated that she had made in excess of $1 million from her application The Whole Pantry.
In her book launch Gibson had made claims that she had be stable for almost 2 years with no growth of the cancer.
Her story soon emerged as very inconsistent and she told media outlets that the cancer had reached her kidneys and liver. However three months earlier she posted on The Whole Pantry Facebook page that the cancer was now in her brain,spleen and uterus. She also claimed that she underwent heart surgery several times and momentarily died on the surgeons table.
She was unable to show any scars from any of the surgery. She then also claimed to have suffered from a stroke.
Once people started questioning the legitimacy of her claims, The Whole Pantry Facebook page began deleting any comments made on the Facebook page that questioned her now “suspect” health conditions and the claims of any charitable donations she had made.
The deletion of the posts drew even more negative attention and scrutiny to her.
Both the Whole Pantry and Healing Belle accounts across a number of social media platforms were soon deleted completely.
Gibson then made another private Facebook account under the name Harry Gibson which she used to hit back at Facebook fan questions about her false claims.
Finally in April Gibson gave an honest interview to Australian Women’s Weekly. She finally admitted that she had fabricated all of the cancer claims.
She attributed it to her upbringing and how she was neglected by her now-estranged mother. She claimed that she was forced to look after herself and her younger siblings since she was 5 years old. Her mother however refused the claims and said her daughter Gibson was lying.
She also claimed that her brother was autistic even though he was interviewed also and found out not to be.
On 15 March 2017, Federal Court Justice Debra Mortimer delivered the decision that “most but not all” of the claims were proven. Gibson did not appear in court for the decision. Justice Mortimer found Gibson’s claims had been misleading and deceptive, and that “Ms Gibson had no reasonable basis to believe she had cancer from the time she began making these claims in public to promote The Whole Pantry Book and the apps in mid-2013,” but there was not enough evidence to prove that she was not acting out of delusion (source: wiki)
She was fined almost $310,000 for making false claims about her donations to charity.
Do you think this was enough punishment for her?
Should she have got jail for doing this?
Please let us know in the comment section.