CON woman Belle Gibson made almost $450,000 by spinning her tale of cancer survival using alternative remedies, court documents allege. And Consumer Affairs Victoria claims the creator of The Whole Pantry app and cookbook paid just $5000 to charity, which she was prompted to complete after investigators came knocking.
Victoria’s consumer watchdog wants Ms Gibson, who confessed to lying about having brain cancer, to make an apology in News Corp stablemates the Herald Sunand The Australian.
“Belle Gibson apologises for her conduct and recognises that cancer is a serious illness which is best managed by a qualified medical practitioner. People should be wary of persons making claims that cancer can be managed, treated or healed in the absence of advice and treatment from qualified medical professionals,” the proposed apology reads.
According to documents filed in the Federal Court Ms Gibson and her company made $314,000 through the sale of The Whole Pantry app, which was downloaded 132,000 times up to April this year.
It’s alleged publisher Penguin advanced Ms Gibson $131,500 between January and October, 2014, for The Whole Pantry book. The book described Ms Gibson as “an inspirational young mother” who had been given four months to live by a doctor in 2009 before she turned to healthy eating and alternative treatments.
Ms Gibson’s company claimed between 2014 and 2015 that portion of the proceeds of app sales would go to various charities.
But Consumer Affairs claims only one charity, the Bumi Sehat Foundation, received $5000 — a donation only completed after the watchdog contacted Ms Gibson about its investigation.
Consumer Affairs alleges Ms Gibson made false and misleading claims and has engaged in unconscionable conduct.
On top of an apology and fine, the watchdog is demanding an injunction preventing Ms Gibson from engaging in similar conduct.
A hearing has been set down for June 10.