Belle Gibson, wellness blogger and founder of the Whole Pantry, was fined $410,000 (in Australian dollars; $322,000 in American dollars) by an Australian court for claiming that she “cured her terminal brain cancer by avoiding gluten and sugar.” Gibson admitted in 2015 that the claims had been made up to Australia Women’s Weekly — she did not and never had brain cancer.
The 28-year-old rose to fame in 2013. She wrote on her blog that doctors had given her just months to live, but she had beaten the odds with nutrition and alternative medicine. People began to doubt her story when she failed to deliver $300,000, made from the app and cookbook, to charity. Her confessional interview in 2015 read, “She says she is passionate about avoiding gluten, dairy and coffee, but doesn’t really understand how cancer works.”
In March of this year, she was found guilty of five breaches of consumer law. Gibson did not appear in court for her sentencing, but instead allegedly wrote in an email, “Thank you for the update. Confirming receipt of the email.”