(Originally published at The Debrief)
Belle Gibson, the Australian wellness blogger who faked a brain tumor to promote her clean eating lifestyle, could face a $1 million dollar fine for her actions.
Until 2015, Gibson had a successful app and cookbook out (called The Whole Pantry) as well as a large social media following, until reports emerged that she lied about all of her illnesses.
Speaking to Australian Women’s Weekly, Gibson said she was ‘still jumping between what I think I know and what is reality,’ and admitted she had never been given a diagnosis.
Back in 2014 Gibson had cheered when revealing that she no longer had cancer in her uterus, but said she was going to get tested for ovarian cancer.
She said although her cancer had disappeared, ‘it all still feels like it sucks down there.’
Her company received $420,000 from sales through the book and the app, and Gibson claimed she gave $300,000 of that to charity – which was also a lie.
When pressed for details on her donations, she claimed the Indonesia and cambodian based charities didn’t speak English, but that she would upload documentation to prove her claims ‘once I get my shit together.’
Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) initially launched an investigation in 2015 after there were doubts to her allegations, and in June 2016 a civil case was brought against Gibson and her company.
She is thought to have made up to $1 million in total.
Justice Debbie Mortimer found Gibson guilty of ‘most but not all’ of the charges yesterday morning in Melbourne, and said she had ‘deliberately played on the genuine desires of members of the Australian community to help those less fortunate.’
Gibson did not attend the hearing and is likely to be sentenced next week.