An Australian court fined a wellness blogger $322,000 for having lied to her fans about a cancer diagnosis. Belle Gibson built a lifestyle brand on the lie that she was diagnosed with brain cancer but survived due to the tips she has shared on her blog.
Gibson recommended her followers to opt for alternative treatments and healthy diets to prevent and even cure cancer. In 2015, she confessed that the cancer diagnosis was imaginary, but that didn’t stop her from publishing a cookbook and developing a health app in the meantime.
BBC found that the blogger recommended cancer patients to try oxygen therapy, gluten-free diets, and Ayurvedic medicine. The proceeds from her book, The Whole Pantry, climbed to $330,000. She promised to donate the money to charity.
However, numerous reports showed that she failed to do so. When she was faced with the many inconsistencies in her story she admitted that she lied about donating the money. Her publisher withdrew the remaining copies of the book.
Blogger Admits to Not Having Cancer
In an interview with the Australian Women’s Weekly in 2015, she admitted that she had never been diagnosed with cancer. “None of it’s true,” she said at the time, adding that she is not seeking people’s forgiveness after speaking out.
“Above anything, I would like people to say ‘OK, she’s human’,”
Gibson told journalists back then.
In March, a court found her guilty of misleading consumers on five counts. The judge said that the blogger probably “genuinely” believed that the therapies she was promoting may be effective in curing brain cancer. But her targeted audience were vulnerable people prone to believe her “delusions” like sick kids and young girls.
On Thursday, the woman was not present in court when the judge read the fine.
Image Source: ipad.appstorm.net