Blogger guilty over false cancer claims
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