A wellness blogger from Australia was fined $322,000 for developing a complex hoax and lying about having cancer. The woman was supposed to donate the money resulted from the sales of her wellness app to a young boy who had an inoperable brain tumor. However, she claimed she had the same disease as him, and failed to offer his family the promised donations.
The woman played a hoax about having cancer
Belle Gibson had launched an app, Whole Pantry, and a cookbook which got published by Penguin. All of this should have brought her around $329,000, which she promised to donate to Joshua Schwartz, a 9-year-old boy suffering from brain cancer.
Gibson pretended to suffer from brain cancer herself, and started a really complex hoax around it. The boy’s mother admitted to becoming friends with the woman, letting her son play with Gibson’s children, and to the blogger dedicating her cookbook to Joshua. She called the sick boy the second little man who was close to her heart, and claimed to share a beautiful friendship with him due to the ‘brain bugs’ they both had.
She promoted unhealthy ideas about the diseases
However, Gibson failed to donate the money to the boy’s family, and Joshua died at the beginning of this year. Also, the woman claimed she managed to cure her own cancer by following a vegan diet, alternative treatments, and a regular exercise programs. Then, it turned out she wasn’t suffering from the disease after all.
Apart from playing such a complex hoax on the family of the sick boy, the juries blamed her for promoting unhealthy ideas regarding cancer. She convinced people the cancer went away just with good nutrition, and told them vaccines were bad for health. This is why, if and after the woman pays the fines, they wanted to donate this money to the organizations it was promised to in the first place.
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