Blogger Belle Gibson Could Be Fined $1.1 million For Faking Cancer
Belle Gibson is a wellness blogger, app developer and cookbook author who claimed to have cured her brain cancer using alternative treatments. However, a federal judge in Australia has just revealed that Gibson never had brain cancer.
Justice Debra Mortimer says that the Australian blogger will face a penalty handed down by the federal court. Gibson has been accused of misleading the public. As well as of deceptive behavior after her claims that she cured her brain cancer through alternative treatments. These treatments include Ayurveda, as well as practicing a sugar and gluten free diet.
Belle Gibson’s full name is Annabelle Natalie Gibson. While the date that she will receive the penalty has not yet been fixed, it appears that her company could face a fine of $1.1 million. She could personally face a further fine of $220 000.
Gibson’s product, ‘The Whole Pantry’, includes a recipe book, website and mobile app under the same name.
How Did Belle Gibson’s Lies Get Revealed?
Gibson first came under suspicion when she did not keep her promise to provide a share of her prophets to charity. Then, in a 2015 interview with Australian Women’s Weekly, she admitted that she had never had cancer, saying: “No. None of it’s true. I don’t want forgiveness. I just think speaking out was the responsible thing to do. Above anything, I would like people to say, ‘Okay, she’s human.'”
Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) then launched an investigation and in June 2016 filed a civil lawsuit against Gibson, and her company Inkerman Road Nominees. Her company has since been put under liquidation.
The CAV says that Gibosn may have been under ‘some kind of delusion’ when she claimed she had brain cancer. However, Mortimer says she is not convinced by CAV’s evidence that Gibson “was acting unconscionably.” She is, however, open to the possibility that Gibson might have “suffered from a series of delusions about her health condition” as there was no evidence yet to prove that Gibson did not genuinely believe she had cancer.
Mortimer says, “Not all human beings are rational and reasonable all of the time. Ms Gibson deliberately played on the genuine desire of members of the Australian community to help those less fortunate. Her ‘pitch’ overwhelmingly used groups likely to evoke sympathy because of their vulnerabilities — young girls, asylum seekers, sick children.”
So What’s The Take Home Health Message?
The most important thing to take away from this story is that there is a lot of room for misinformation on the web. Especially when it comes to health. The health industry is a multi-billion dollar industry and there are many people who are looking to take advantage of this.
However, there is also a lot of useful information on the internet. It gives us the opportunity to empower ourselves and take control of our health in ways that we never could before. The internet is a tool, a double edged sword, the value is all in how we use it.
The key is to always check your source. Whenever you come across a piece of health information check who is supplying it to you. How credible are they? How valid is the study from a scientific point of view. And what are other credible sources saying about it? Research, research, research. Read both sides of the argument and decide for yourself what makes the most sense. Never blindly trust one person just because they have something interesting to say. Your health is your most valuable asset, don’t let anyone take it away from you.