Blogger who faked she had brain cancer and cured disease with natural remedies facing legal action
A blogger who faked having terminal brain cancer and claimed she used natural remedies to beat the disease is set to face legal action.
Belle Gibson shot to fame in Australia when she announced she had made a full recovery from healthy eating and natural therapies alone.
She launched a successful app and cookbook, both called The Whole Pantry, but later admitted the diagnosis was completely made up.
The disgraced 23-year-old social media entrepreneur made a fortune from her ventures and now could face fines of more than £500,000.
Ms Gibson’s claims to have cured her cancer with oxygen therapy together with a gluten and refined sugar-free diet.
She also claimed she had cancer of the blood, spleen, uterus and liver.
Her lie was compounded by claims she was wrongly diagnosed by a German alternative medical practitioner in 2009 and believed she had cancer until 2011 when a scan showed she was completely healthy.
The mum-of-one began her hoax by claiming on photo sharing site Instagram that she had treated herself with natural therapies.
Her story gave hope to thousands of followers and she quickly gained a massive following.
After launching her book and app she raked in the cash on the back of the fraud .
She even promised to deliver a share of the profits from her ventures to several charities, but more than £150,000 allegedly never appeared and her to appear story fell apart.
The Consumer Affairs body in Victoria is set to prosecute her for allegedly breaking Australian consumer law.
The regulator said it had conducted an in-depth investigation of Ms Gibson’s activities and had applied to Australia’s Federal Court for leave to pursue legal action.
She reportedly admitted to the Australian Women’s Weekly magazine that none of her claims were true.
She said: “If I don’t have an answer, then I will sort of theorise it myself and come up with one. I think that’s an easy thing to often revert to if you don’t know what the answer is.”
A statement by Consumer Affairs Victoria said: “The alleged contraventions relate to false claims by Ms Gibson and her company concerning her diagnosis with terminal brain cancer, her rejection of conventional cancer treatments in favour of natural remedies, and the donation of proceeds to various charities.”
Ms Gibson’s publisher, Penguin Australia, has already agreed to pay £15,300 to the Victorian Consumer Law Fund as a penalty for releasing The Whole Pantry, which was not fact checked.