A former friend of Belle Gibson haslashed the cancer conwoman, describing her actions as “diabolical”, “elaborate” and motivated by “greed and fame”.
Gibson, 32, sold thousands of copies of her cookbook and wellness app off the back of faking brain cancer and claiming she was cured by natural remedies and healthy living.
Her deceit was finally uncovered in 2015 by journalists.
In 2017 the Federal Court of Australia found the mum of one engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct and fined her $410,000 for breaching consumer laws.
The court also found she had falsely claimed that proceeds from sales of her book and app The Whole Pantry, company earnings and a Mother’s Day event would be donated to charities or good causes.
In the wake of a new Netflix documentary, “The Belle Gibson story”, former friend Chanelle McAuliffe told Sunrise she didn’t believe “justice was really served for the victims and the charities that were targeted”.
“While Belle’s scam was quite unique, scams are not unique and they are quite widespread and systemic,” she said.
Ms McAuliffe described Gibson as “quite strategic”and her actions “diabolical” and “elaborate”.
“She was driven by power and greed and fame and I think if someone is motivated on those fronts they are willing to go to great lengths to achieve those things,” she said.
McAuliffe revealed the new documentary featured a cancer victim who contemplating halting conventional medicine because of Gibson’s misguided advice.
“Did people die because of Belle?,” she asked.
“The misinformation that Belle was spreading was really dangerous. she was targeting people with a terminal illness to not take conventional treatment, to drink green juice and bake gluten free cookies.”
Gibson was fined $410,000 in a civil case against Consumer Affairs Victoria in 2017.
The Federal Court in Melbourne heard she misled her readers and was banned from making deceptive claims about her health in connection with wellbeing advice.
One of the most grievous acts was failing to donate 100 per cent of one week’s app sales, or $150,000, to the family of Joshua Schwarz, a boy who had an inoperable brain tumour.
The judge presiding over the case, Justice Mortimer, said it was the worst of Gibson’s failings.
“Ms Gibson expressly compared the terrible circumstances of young Joshua to her own, asserting she had the same kind of tumour as he did; a statement which was completely false,” Justice Mortimer said.
Gibson earned almost half a million dollars from her app and book advance, but her charity donations totalled just under $6000.
– with NCA NewsWire
Originally published as ‘Diabolical’: Friend exposes cancer faker Belle Gibson