Melbourne – Australian blogger Belle Gibson was declared guilty by a federal court for lying about having cancer and have overcome it with natural therapies, and for using vulnerable groups to sell her products.
Belle Gibson is an Australian blogger that became famous after she launched The Whole Pantry, a wellness product series that includes a mobile app, a recipe book, and a website, all of them about overcoming cancer through natural treatment. She said that she had brain cancer and she healed herself using these alternative therapies.
Nothing was true
She first shared her story in 2013 with the app launching, and then she continued with “The Whole Pantry” products, teaching people about the possibilities of overcoming from diseases like cancer through alternative medicine, as her own experience could show.
In fact, The Whole Pantry Book says that doctors told her that she only had four months of life left. After the diagnosis, she said that she went all around the country looking for alternative medicine and natural treatments to overcome the disease. Meanwhile, she also got pregnant. And now, completely recovered, she would tell everyone her secret.
She also promised that with the money that she would gain from the products sales, she would make donations to charitable organizations working against cancer.
However, in 2015, everything started to fall apart when media found out she never gave any money to any charity.
She said on many occasions that she had been diagnosed with cancer in her blood, spleen uterus, liver, and brain but then she said to The Australian Women’s Weekly magazine that “none of it’s true.” She made up the diagnosis.
In 2016, the Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) started an investigation and a legal battle against Gibson based on the promotion of all her products on false information, and for cheating people about money donations that were never made.
“She was not living with cancer at any stage of her life,” said Federal Court Justice Debra Mortimer, according to The Guardian.
According to Mortimer, Gibson has contravened the Australian Consumer law that says that “a person must not engage in trade or commerce likely to mislead or deceive.” She breached this law since the moment she started selling her products under the “cancer curation” speech.
The court also concluded that Gibson used vulnerable groups for her products’ marketing. She used ill children as a strategy to sell her fake wellness products.
“She deliberately played on the genuine desire of members of the Australian community to help those less fortunate,” Mortimer said in her judgment.
According to 9News, Belle Gibson Pty Ltd received $420,000 from sales between 2013 and 2015, but only $10,000 was actually donated while she continued promising that a significant part of the money would be donated to charity. For example, in 2013 when she promised that all the app sales would go to a family in need of cancer treatment for their son. According to the court statement, there is no evidence of this donation.
Also, Mortimer said that Gibson might be under a great depression and she questioned her state of mind. She said that maybe Gibson had remained under a delusion that she really had cancer.
The whole decision has not been published yet, but Gibson’s penalty may be determined this month.
Source: The New Daily