Belle Gibson: Instagram influencer who was caught faking cancer

The Australian wellness influencer is now being labeled as a "con artist."

Pop Culture & Art April 25, 2024

The 21-year-old social media influencer had misled millions of followers by promoting wellness and healthy eating as ways to manage her supposed terminal illness, but she was later exposed as a "con artist."

A two-part documentary about the influencer will be released on ITV at 9pm BST.

According to iNews, Belle Gibson, an Australian, was born in Launceston, Tasmania, and attended school in Manly, Queensland.

She alleged that she was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in 2009 and was given only six weeks to live. Claiming that chemotherapy made her sick, she abandoned the treatment and opted for a natural living lifestyle.

She later asserted that her cancer had metastasized to her blood, spleen, uterus, and liver.

In August 2013, following her significant online success, she launched the app The Whole Pantry, which reportedly garnered 200,000 downloads within its first month.

Belle’s Downfall

Belle's downfall began when investigations into her claims of donating proceeds to charity raised suspicion.

Her friend Chanelle McAuliffe became skeptical after witnessing Belle appear to have a seizure, from which she quickly recovered when someone suggested calling an ambulance.

Journalist Richard Guilliatt, whose wife had cancer, began questioning experts about Belle's claims.

He interviewed Belle and recorded their conversation, during which she admitted that her doctor had diagnosed her and then disappeared, leading her to question whether she had been misdiagnosed.

Guilliat said: “Belle Gibson just recanted on the record. She’s basically saying she can’t back up her cancer claims”

Consumer Affairs Victoria took legal action against Belle for allegedly violating Australian consumer law. In September 2017, she was fined $410,000 Australian dollars for making false claims about her charitable donations.

In 2020 and 2021, her home was raided to recover unpaid fines. A year earlier, she was reportedly seen at Melbourne airport after returning from an $8,000 (£4,000) safari trip.


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