A wellness blogger who claimed to have found a cure for her terminal illness has admitted she deceived her readers.
Belle Gibson had built a large following for her blog on the basis of having found a cure for her brain cancer through diet and lifestyle.
“None of it’s true,” Gibson told the Australian Women’s Weekly in an interview to be published today.
“I don’t want forgiveness. I just think [speaking out] was the responsible thing to do. Above anything, I would like people to say, ‘OK, she’s human’.”
Gibson launched her The Whole Pantry business in 2013. It had claimed to be the world’s first health, wellness and lifestyle app community when she declared she had healed herself naturally through wholefoods and alternative therapies.
The blogger went on to release a cookbook in 2014 but suspicions began to arise when the publisher, Penguin, pulled from the sale last month.
Also last month, Gibson claimed she had been “wrongly” diagnosed with cancers she claimed to have in her blood, spleen, uterus and liver by a German magnetic therapist, but maintained her terminal brain cancer was real.
It later emerged that she failed to donate AU$300,000 (€217,000) in profits from the sales of her book to charity as promised.
Her false illness claims date back to 2009, when she claimed on an internet forum to have undergone multiple heart surgeries and to have died on the operating table.
In the days following the allegations against her, Gibson posted on social media that she was being bullied and had changed “thousands of lives for the better”.
Meanwhile, the media was criticised for running glowing articles about Gibson prior to the allegations coming to light without properly checking the facts of her story.