When Belle Gibson founded The Whole Pantry with the story of healing herself from terminal cancer via alternative health and nutrition, she gave hope to thousands suffering with the disease. Now, after months of speculation, the 23-year-old has confessed to lying about the whole ordeal.
Sitting down with The Australian Women’s Weekly, the disgraced blogger admitted: “No, none of it’s true,” when she was asked if she has, or has ever had, cancer. Failing to give an appropriate or clear reason as to why – “I am still jumping between what I think I know and what is reality. I have lived it and I’m not really there yet,” – Gibson instead directed the blame to her troubled childhood.
“When I started school, my mum went, ‘My daughter is grown up now’. All of a sudden I was walking to school on my own, making school lunches and cleaning the house every day. It was my responsibility to do grocery shopping, do the washing, arrange medical appointments and pick up my brother. I didn’t have any toys.”
So does not having parental guidance pardon the fact that she created one of the biggest hoax’s the health industry has ever seen? Or the fact that she deceived several charities by withholding up to $300, 000 in promised donations from the sales of her app? Or what about potentially putting the lives of those who made choices about their cancer treatment based on her advice in jeopardy?
No doubt Belle Gibson has copped furious backlash, with the 23-year-old being slammed via social media, but is mental illness behind her wrongdoings? The Australian Women’s Weekly speculated that Gibson suffers from a psychological condition called Munchausen syndrome — a condition where sufferers often lie about disease or illness for attention.
“I think my life has just got so many complexities around it and within it, that it’s just easier to assume [I’m lying],” said Gibson in the interview. “If I don’t have an answer, then I will sort of theorise it myself and come up with one. I think that’s an easy thing to often revert to if you don’t know what the answer is.”
Regardless of her reasoning, financially the former health guru’s web of lies has left her in turmoil. The Whole Pantry app has been dropped by Apple, Penguin Australia have stopped supplying her book and she has also been instructed by accountants to give any leftover profits to the charities she pledged money to. So, what’s next for Belle Gibson?
She says she doesn’t want forgiveness. Instead, she wants people to say: “‘Okay, she’s human. She’s obviously had a big life. She’s respectfully come to the table and said what she’s needed to say, and now it’s time for her to grow and heal.’”
Sorry Belle, but it’s going to take a lot more than a measly apology for your followers to let you off the hook that easy.
Image via Sydney Morning Herald