Faked cancer or misdiagnosed? Book and app sales are on the line. (UPDATE: LIAR)

Belle Gibson admits she lied about having cancer. She’s a very troubled person. It’s speculated she may suffer from a psychological disorder such as Munchausen syndrome where she fakes illness to get attention.

Belle Gibson: ‘No, None of it is true’.

“I think my life has just got so many complexities around it and within it, that it’s just easier to assume [I’m lying],” she said.

“If I don’t have an answer, then I will sort of theorise it myself and come up with one. I think that’s an easy thing to often revert to if you don’t know what the answer is.”

Gibson believes her “troubled” childhood may have led her to lie about her condition.

Original story from 12-Mar 2015

Belle Gibson of Australia claims that her diet cured her cancer and she attempted to capitalize on that. Now, she is being accused of lying about her illness. Her publisher admits to not checking! (This is a trend.) She has retained a lawyer and admits that she may have been misdiagnosed.

Belle Gibson fans demand refunds for app and cookbook.

Customers who bought Belle Gibson’s health food app and cookbook are demanding refunds amid revelations that the Melbourne entrepreneur may have made up her cancer survival story.

The 26-year-old’s recipe and lifestyle app The Whole Pantry (TWP) was released in August 2013 and solicited donations from 200,000 people in the name of around five charities.

However, none of the charities have any record of receiving money from Ms Gibson or TWP. The terminal cancer diagnosis, which contributed to Ms Gibson’s business success, is now under question.

Penguin now admits it did not fact check Ms Gibson’s claims about being diagnosed with terminal malignant brain cancer in 2009, given only months to live and how she beat the doctor’s odds by rejecting conventional medicine in favour of a clean living lifestyle.

On Tuesday, Victoria Police visited Ms Gibson’s home and Consumer Affairs Victoria has launched its own investigation into her fundraising activities.

Penguin is the publisher of Gibson’s cookbook. Fairfax Media has found several serious inconsistencies with her story. Regardless of the truth, her reputation is seriously damaged due to this scandal. The US book publisher, Simon & Schuster, is looking into her background and charitable donations as well.

Lying about cancer is not exactly news or uncommon, if true. We’ve featured stories about this before, typically to get attention or to raise money.

Tip: Graham Donald

  12 comments for “Faked cancer or misdiagnosed? Book and app sales are on the line. (UPDATE: LIAR)

  1. One Eyed Jack
    March 13, 2015 at 1:40 PM

    The publisher and the author should be held equally responsible and charged with fraud. The publisher is responsible for a certain level of due diligence as the vehicle for publication and a beneficiary of profits. Perhaps if publishers were held more accountable for dishonest quackery, there would be less of it.

  2. Russian Skeptic
    March 14, 2015 at 4:02 PM

    The most famous person who claimed having recovered from terminal cancer was Alexander Solzhenitsyn. He stated that he was about to be dead and cured himself with a herbal tea. Apparently, he was misdiagnosed, because in 1954 you could not recover from terminal cancer to live up to 90.

  3. Colonel Tom
    March 14, 2015 at 7:19 PM

    No, that does not follow at all. There are many well documented cases of miraculous reversals of “terminal” conditions. I suspect the immune system flips the trigger to respond to a cancer in the proper way. The fact that one person has a miraculous reversal does not prove that the tea, or diet, seasons in a sweat lodge with traditional medicines are effective treatments. It would take a statistically significant number of people with “terminal” conditions that were reversed after the treatment to prove it was effective. With an isolated case it could be chance, atypical immunity, or tea.

    Personally, I am symptom free of a condition that is normally chronic and terminal, yet I escaped almost all of the problems. My fellow suffers often ask me what my “secret” was, if I was dishonest I would spin a believable yarn and sell snakeoil to the desperate, instead all I can do is offer the slight hope that they might be the one like me, that survives.

  4. Russian Skeptic
    March 16, 2015 at 1:21 PM

    Did I claim that tea cured him? It was his claim, not mine.
    And the fact that you put the word ‘terminal’ in quotes (twice!) indicates that you yourself do not believe the story. That is, the writer actually was unlikely to have had terminal cancer. That is, he was likely to have been misdiagnosed.

  5. Colonel Tom
    March 16, 2015 at 3:22 PM

    By definition, a terminal condition leads to death. If a person does not die, they did not have a terminal condition. What a person might have had, is a condition with a incredibly low chance of survival. Many brain tumors have a very small chance of survival, small enough to be trivial. However, even with an inoperable brain cancer there is a small but real chance of long terminal survival. Giving benefit of the doubt to this person, even if diagnosed with any of a large number of brain cancers, there would be a small chance of remission no matter if she was treated or untreated. I suspect that there is a larger chance of misdiagnosis, especially if she did not confirm an initial diagnosis. Always get a second or third opinion, I still have my gall bladder and my life because I got a second opinion.

    One may speculated based upon her behavior that this is a crazy wackadoodle abusing gullible people who follow her bad advice and risk their lives needlessly. However, speculation is not confirmation, she may or may not have had a severe diagnosis, she may or may not have had a remission.
    Because she is giving dangerous and irresponsible advice does not guarantee that she did or didn’t have a cancer with a low chance of survival.

  6. Paul Kron
    April 22, 2015 at 11:41 AM

    It seems very likely that she did lie, and I agree that she has given out “dangerous and irresponsible advice”. It also seems likely that her lies were motivated, at least in part, by a desire to make money. HOWEVER, it is also very possible that, as our host points out, there may be a psychological disorder involved. Please, everyone, try to refrain from using terms like “crazy wackadoodle” when referring to people who may have mental health disorders (even if your use of the term is “speculative”). It doesn’t help to overcome the stigma associated with very real problems.

  7. MisterNeutron
    April 22, 2015 at 6:37 PM

    But for the people taken in by this fraud, that’s what an attorney would call “a distinction without a difference.”

  8. Russian Skeptic
    April 23, 2015 at 12:55 PM

    I only don’t understand why to invent ‘syndromes’ for all kinds of bad behaviour. Yes, some people do tell lies to get attention. Just as some people steal things, not necessarily being cleptomaniacs. Or is the reason that modern ethical standards do not allow us to have her whipped for lies, but telling lies is still considered bad, so she must have an excuse that she is somewhat insane?

  9. Graham
    April 23, 2015 at 6:20 PM

    A small update of my own, there are now claims circulating in the media claiming that Gibsons actions are those of a true psychopath.


  10. Steve
    April 23, 2015 at 9:19 PM

    Half the harm that is done in this world
    Is due to people who want to feel important.
    They don’t mean to do harm — but the harm does not interest them.
    Or they do not see it, or they justify it
    Because they are absorbed in the endless struggle
    To think well of themselves.

    T.S. Eliot

  11. Graham
    April 25, 2015 at 2:18 AM

    Latest comment from the Guardian (Hosted on MSN), one with which I fully agree:

    “Wellness Gurus Should Carry A Health Warning”


  12. BobM
    April 25, 2015 at 2:49 AM

    Diagnosis at a distance? Not sure I trust that. Plus your link doesn’t work.

Comments are closed.