Melbourne, May 6 (IANS) An Australian blogger who faked terminal brain cancer faces legal action over her deception.
Consumer Affairs Victoria on Friday said it was preparing to take Belle Gibson to court following an in-depth investigation into alleged contraventions of Australian consumer law, ABC Australia reported.
Gibson claimed she was diagnosed with malignant brain cancer and said she only had a short time to live.
She built a social media empire around the claim that she cured her illness with with Ayurvedic medicine, oxygen therapy and a gluten and refined sugar-free diet, launching a smartphone app and a cookbook, ‘The Whole Pantry’ through Penguin publishing.
She promised to deliver a share of her profits to several charities but the money allegedly never reached the charities.
Gibson admitted in an interview with the Australian Women’s Weekly last year that her diagnosis was not real.
Consumer Affairs Minister Jane Garrett said the watchdog would take civil action in the Federal Court against Gibson and her now-defunct company.
“All of those claims made by her round when she suffered the illness, her therapies in respect of that illness and what she did with her own alternative remedies are false and misleading and deceptive,” she said.
“We will be seeking financial penalties… also in terms of injunctions to ensure that that conduct is not undertaken again.”
Gibson’s publisher, Penguin Australia, has already agreed to pay $22,200 to the Victorian Consumer Law Fund as a penalty for releasing The Whole Pantry, which was not fact checked.
It stopped printing her book last year after Gibson’s admission.
Consumer Affairs began investigating Gibson in March 2015.