Natural Cancer Cure Guru Lied About Having Cancer

April 22nd, 2015
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Not long ago, Jessica Ainscough died from lack of treatment for her cancer.  For the past few years, she had been promoting various ‘alternative’ cancer treatments, which, she claimed, would cure the cancer she had as well as others.   It didn’t, and, predictably, she died.  However, it’s hard not to have some sympathy for her.  After all, she clearly believed the garbage she was spouting, because she had enough faith in it to let it kill her.

What would be truly revolting would be if someone had gone around making similar claims and raking in money for it, but lied about having cancer the whole time.

Well, that just happened.

Via News.com.au:

Belle Gibson: ‘No, None of it is true’

DISGRACED wellness blogger Belle Gibson has admitted she deceived her followers, friends and family about having cancer and curing her illness with healthy eating and natural therapies.

The 23-year-old was accused of fabricating her terminal brain cancer and making a profit from her story via her wellness app, The Whole Pantry.

Last month it was revealed Gibson failed to donate $300,000 from the sales of her app to charity as promised and her friends had started to question the legitimacy of her diagnosis. Earlier this month, Victoria Police said they would not pursue criminal charges against Gibson.

Speaking out about the controversy in an exclusive interview with The Australian Women’s Weekly, Gibson was asked outright if she has, or has ever had cancer.

“No. None of it’s true,” she confessed.

“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,” she said.

The Weekly speculates that Gibson suffers from a psychological condition called factitious disorder or Munchausen syndrome (see below for an explainer) — where sufferers feign disease or illness to gain attention.

Gibson fails to explain in detail how and why she lied about her condition.

“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],” she said.

“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.”

Gibson believes her “troubled” childhood may have led her to lie about her condition.

The young mother — she has a 4-year-old son called Olivier — claims she was forced to take care of herself from the age of five.

“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.” Gibson is now estranged from her mother and would not provide The Weekly with her first name or contact details.

Gibson is still with her partner Clive Rothwell, who declined to be interviewed by The Weekly. She says Rothwell is “supportive, but obviously very devastated” by her betrayal.

“He’s been very stern, along the lines of, ‘I just want you to acknowledge where you’ve f***ed up and try not to smooth over that,” she said.

The recent controversy has put Gibson in a difficult financial position. Penguin Australia has stopped supplying her book and Apple have dropped her app.

She has returned her rental car and will soon move out of her beachside home. Accountants have been instructed to give any leftover funds to the charities Gibson pledged money to.

Gibson says the public backlash against her has been “horrible”.

“In the last two years I have worked every single day living and raising up an online community of people who supported each other … I understand the confusion and the suspicion, but I also know that people need to draw a line in the sand where they still treat someone with some level of respect or humility — and I have not been receiving that.”

TROUBLED CHILDHOOD? A lot of people have troubled childhoods. A lot of people have horrible lives. Hell, many people ACTUALLY DO HAVE CANCER and they do not go around scamming other people and telling such viscous and harmful lies.

And she has the nerve to now complain that the backlash should be horrible? I have no words.

I would normally never think it right to wish cancer on someone, but damn it, this horrid person actually kind of deserves it, for having pretended to have had it and cured herself for years. She lived in a beach side home and raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars based on this scam.

This is, quite possibly, the single most evil story I have read about quackery and alternative medicine, and that’s saying a lot.

I don’t know anything about Australian laws, but it seems to me like there has to be something she can be charged with? Fraud, perhaps? Possibly even manslaughter, if it can be proven that her actions lead to a death, which they very well may have.  Surely there is a prosecutor in Australia who can hit her with something and make it stick.

More information here, from an article written by a cancer survivor, who is suitably outraged by this.


This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015 at 5:50 pm and is filed under Bad Science, media, Misc, Quackery. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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15 Responses to “Natural Cancer Cure Guru Lied About Having Cancer”

  1. 1
    drbuzz0 Says:

    Sorry if that post came off as a bit emotional or lacking in sources or analysis. This is one of the few cases where I honestly do not even know how to respond to something. I can hardly wrap my mind around someone doing this. I also can’t believe she won’t be prosecuted for this. It’s truly one of the worst things I’ve ever read.


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  2. 2
    DV82XL Says:

            drbuzz0 said:

    I also can’t believe she won’t be prosecuted for this.

    Hang on. She won’t face criminal charges, but she is under investigation by Consumer Affairs and may yet face civil charges under commerce laws.


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  3. 3
    drbuzz0 Says:

            DV82XL said:

    Hang on. She won’t face criminal charges, but she is under investigation by Consumer Affairs and may yet face civil charges under commerce laws.

    Yeah, but I’d like to see her in prison. This is one of the most disgraceful scams I have ever seen (and I have seen some bad ones)


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  4. 4
    DV82XL Says:

            drbuzz0 said:

    Yeah, but I’d like to see her in prison.

    Ya. and I’d like to see Jenny McCarthy face the death penalty for the kids her actions have killed too, but that isn’t going to happen either.


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  5. 5
    Ed Hughes Says:

    Glad to have you back Dr. Buzz0, your clearly written commentaries on things was missed.


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  6. 6
    L.Long Says:

    Forget prison for her it would be too easy.
    Strip her of all her money, sell her property for as much as possible and give all to the various cancer charities and then dump her into a cardboard box in an alley in NY. And wish her well.


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  7. 7
    Joffan Says:

    Of course, she may not have had a troubled childhood either. If she’s comfortable lying about terminal brain cancer, pretending that she was a neglected child would be a breeze.


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  8. 8
    Sigivald Says:

    “I also know that people need to draw a line in the sand where they still treat someone with some level of respect or humility — and I have not been receiving that.”

    Try not lying to them about cures for deadly diseases for your own personal benefit.

    I hear that works wonders for people respecting you and not judging you harshly.


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  9. 9
    Shafe Says:

            L.Long said:

    Forget prison for her it would be too easy.
    Strip her of all her money, sell her property for as much as possible and give all to the various cancer charities and then dump her into a cardboard box in an alley in NY. And wish her well.

    Don’t dump her in the US, she’s Australia’s garbage. If Australia wants to export her to a foreign slum, try Mumbai. The Indians might enjoy her quackery.


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  10. 10
    drbuzz0 Says:

            Sigivald said:

    “I also know that people need to draw a line in the sand where they still treat someone with some level of respect or humility — and I have not been receiving that.”

    Try not lying to them about cures for deadly diseases for your own personal benefit.

    I hear that works wonders for people respecting you and not judging you harshly.

    True, but we gave them Meryl Dorey, and I do feel pretty bad about that, just as an American.


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  11. 11
    drbuzz0 Says:

    The other problem with dumping her in NY is that it’s not actually that bad or hopeless a place if you are homeless and have nothing. Most homeless people in a place like NY are there because they are mentally ill, have substance abuse problems or some other major social or economic impairments.

    If you have your head on right, there are social services, public housing and that kind of thing. Also, it’s not an impoverished area either, so it’s not like a pretty young woman who is a world class scam artist wouldn’t be able to mooch off others and get herself some money.

    I bet if you dropped her in New York, she’d scam her way to a decent income in a few months.

    Here’s a better place to put people like her:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnston_Atoll

    Historically this is where the US put stuff that we really didn’t want anywhere near anyone. It’s where we kept a lot of chemical weapons and a plant to destroy them for a while. It’s about as remote and isolated as you can possibly get.


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  12. 12
    DV82XL Says:

            Sigivald said:

    “I also know that people need to draw a line in the sand where they still treat someone with some level of respect or humility — and I have not been receiving that.”

    A statement like this only shows that this person is upset she was caught, not that she feels guilt for her actions or is in any way contrite. She’s a professional con artist and I fully expect her to re-emerge as something like a born again Christian doing the bottom feeder talk show circuit full of penitent remorse begging forgiveness while she pushes a book of confessions. Worse, there are enough nitwits among the public that will buy into this to make this path worth it to her


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  13. 13
    Rob Says:

    I see they mentioned Munchausen syndrome in that article. Is that even really a thing? I have heard of this so-called syndrome but I am unsure as to how medically sound it is. Just seems like another term for “pathalogical liar” to me. Then again I have met many people with mental illness who have done things or said things people would otherwise dismiss as a character flaw so who knows. Either way Belle Gibson’s fabrication was a gross mistreatment of other people’s trust.


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  14. 14
    DV82XL Says:

            Rob said:

    I see they mentioned Munchausen syndrome in that article. Is that even really a thing?

    Yes it is a legitimate mental disorder, but it doubtful that this woman suffers from it. Munchausen syndrome is a so-called factitious disorder wherein those affected feign disease, illness, or psychological trauma to draw attention, sympathy, or reassurance to themselves, not as a launching pad for a business selling quackery. As well those afflicted with this psychiatric disorder go to great lengths to maintain the illusion they are sick even to the point of self-harm, they do not readily admit to feigned illnesses even when caught, rather than admit to it or use it as an excuse.


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  15. 15
    drbuzz0 Says:

    I agree. I doubt it’s Munchausen syndrome

    BTW: more posts coming soon. Probably this weekend. I ended up with a lot of work that needs to get done by Friday, so I put it off.


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