Belle Gibson Found Guilty Of Misleading Public With False Cancer Claims
Fake wellness blogger Belle Gibson is said to have been deluded about her own cancer, so it cannot be proved that her brain cancer claims were unconscionable, a Federal Court judge says.
Justice Debra Mortimer found on Wednesday that “most” allegations made against the Gibson by the Victorian consumer watchdog were proved — but not all.
The judge said she could not be persuaded whether Ms Gibson had a genuine belief she had cancer while telling her publisher, social media followers and consumers that she did.
“Another explanation is that Ms Gibson remained under some kind of delusion that she had cancer,” Justice Mortimer wrote in her judgment. “She may have had other psychological or psychiatric issues. I am not persuaded on the evidence she was acting unconscionably.”
If found guilty, Gibson could be fined personally up to $220,000, and her company could be fined $1.1 million, with the penalties to be handed down at a later date.
The allegations are that she made hundreds of thousands of dollars after building a social media empire and releasing a cookbook and an app, all based on claims Gibson cured her own brain cancer through nutrition and alternative therapies.
In April 2015, the 25-year-old told The Australian Women’s Weekly that her claims were false. “No. None of it’s true,” she confessed. “I am still jumping between what I think I know and what is reality. I have lived it and I’m not really there yet,” she said.
The judgement came as Ms Gibson revealed on social media she has been following a new fad cleansing program, Master Fast System, which she claims has changed the colour of her eyes and even healed cavities in her teeth.
“I hadn’t felt like this in my entire life,” she wrote on a closed Master Faster System Facebook page. Ms Gibson has since closed her account.
She added that a “huge rope worm” had been left in her body during an enema.
“It was coiled around itself like a spiral about 5 or more times. I felt such a huge relief and was floating all day afterwards,” she said.
The Master Fast System, created by Canadian alternative health entrepreneur Luigi Di Serio, claims to offer ill people “options for true healing”, on its website, which also spruiks the diet’s private Facebook page and solicits donations.