The Story Behind Belle Gibson, The Wellness Blogger Who Conned The World

Belle Gibson conned the world into believing she had survived brain cancer.

A new book, The Woman Who Fooled The World, Belle Gibson’s cancer con written by The Age journalists Beau Donelly and Nick Toscano who first exposed her is a book you wont put down.

It is an astonishing story for anyone fascinated by an individual’s ability to commit such a terrible fraud on a global scale.

Belle Gibson’s blog The Whole Pantry, had 200,00 followers and  a book about her life published by Penguin with the same name was a sellout.

Even Apple had bought her story and were about to release her app on their Apple watches before her world came tumbling down.

She claimed she had cured her brain cancer using her own nutrition and natural methods, and waling away from medicine, and the world bought her story. Her friends bought her story. She even faked a seizure at her own child’s birthday party. She gave speeches in which she lied about her health,  and there were multiple false claims online and in person over years.

The book is a detailed account of how The Age journalists exposed her fraudulent behaviour, and it wasn’t easy.

It’s a sensational read,  but it is also heartbreaking at times. There are a lot of startling facts. The journalists go into detail of how hard it was just to get people who knew Gibson to speak with them. Almost no-one would go on the record.

They initially struggled to expose her, but it was after turning their attention to her supposed charity donations that they finally had the proof they needed to go public and write the first story questioning her credibility.

 

Belle Gibson in happier times in front of vegetables in a grocery store.

Once the initial story of her false donations to charity was published, others came forward and the truth about her actual diagnosis or lack there of was finally revealed.

The book details Gibson’s reaction to being exposed, which was hard to believe, as she  kept lying and fabricating the truth.

It’s a startling portrayal of a liar on all levels and an insight into how easy it is for anyone to create a false life and identity in the social media age. The credibility checks just aren’t there in today’s fast paced globally connected world.

But even so, the message here is that eventually they do get caught. In Gibson’s case, it took just on person who did not agree with her false world to expose her.

Whilst this story and indeed this book is extraordinary, there are many unanswered questions about this woman and her story, most particularly her own mental state.

Renae Leith-Manos

Editor and Founder of Bondi Beauty

Renae Leith-Manos is a Sydney journalist who hangs out in Bondi. She has had a colourful media career, and spends her time writing, consulting to new businesses, running, doing yoga, swimming & cycling. She's likes healthy eating, but thinks chocolate cake is just as important as kale chips. She spends weekends hanging out with her gorgeous twins doing something fun in Sydney's East.

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