Belle Gibson, a popular wellness blogger and founder of the Whole Pantry, was fined after claiming that she “cured her terminal brain cancer by avoiding gluten and sugar."
According to The Cut, Gibson was fined a total of $410,000 AUD, which amounts to about $322,000 in American dollars. Gibson had admitted that her claims were made up in 2015.
Gibson also discussed her fabricated terminal illness on her blog. She said that she had been given only months to live but had fought the cancer with a nutrition and alternative medicine. Suspicions about her behavior arose after she failed to give a pledged amount of $300,000 AUD, made from sales of her app and her cookbook, to charity.
“I don’t want forgiveness. I just think [speaking out] was the responsible thing to do. Above anything, I would like people to say, ‘OK, she’s human,'" Gibson had said in her conffesional interview.
Gibson was specifically found guilty of five breaches of Australian consumer laws. She was not in court for the trial but responded via email: “Thank you for the update. Confirming receipt of the email," she wrote.
The Guardian notes that Gibson had been caught lying about her health in 2009: She claimed she had received multiple heart surgeries and had died on the operating table.
Gibson continued to defend her lies on social media after her confession, saying that she had changed “thousands of lives for the better." She explained her lies by saying that she had a difficult childhood.
Prior to the confession, Gibson had refused to show journalists any evidence of her sickness.
Penguin has since ceased publication on her book and her app has been removed from the Apple store.
[Photo: Screenshot via YouTube]