Blog­ger guilty over false can­cer claims

New Straits Times - - World -

SYD­NEY: A health blog­ger, who lied about hav­ing brain can­cer and cur­ing her­self through nat­u­ral ther­a­pies, was found guilty by a court yes­ter­day of mis­lead­ing the pub­lic.

Belle Gib­son, 25, launched a cookbook and smart­phone app in 2013 on claims that she had over­come brain can­cer through al­ter­na­tive reme dies, such as ayurvedic medicine, gluten­free diet a n d r efined sugar.

But, in 2015, she ad­mit­ted to an Aus­tralian mag­a­zine that she had made up the di­ag­no­sis.

Con­sumer Af­fairs Vic­to­ria (CAV) took le­gal ac­tion against Gib­son and the Fed­eral Court up­held most of their al­le­ga­tions, find­ing she had en­gaged in “mis­lead­ing or de­cep­tive con­duct” af­ter pro­mot­ing her book and app on false as­ser­tions.

The court had yet to an­nounce what penal­ties Gib­son would be hit with, but un­der con­sumer law, she could face up to A$220,000 (RM742,000) in fines and her com­pany up to A$1.1 mil­lion, a CAV spokesman said.

“Gib­son played on the gen­uine de­sire of mem­bers of the Aus­tralian com­mu­nity to help those less for­tu­nate,” jus­tice De­bra Mor­timer wrote in her judg­ment.

Mor­timer said she was open to the pos­si­bil­ity that Gib­son might have “suf­fered from a se­ries of delu­sions about her health con­di­tion”, as there was not enough ev­i­dence to show she did not be­lieve she had can­cer.

Gib­son’s lie be­gan un­rav­el­ling when it emerged that she had failed to do­nate A$300,000 in prof­its from the sales of her cookbook to char­ity as promised AFP

Belle Gib­son

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