She doesn't seem nice at all.

Australian health-blogger gal and complete fraud Belle Gibson, who claimed she cured herself of brain cancer by eating a natural diet, but who never actually had cancer at all, has been convicted in an Australian court and now faces over $1 million in fines for ripping people off and generally being awful. That's a million Australian dollars, which sounds impressive but is a mere pittance of a bit under $765,000 in real Ameros, so she got off easy.

Gibson accomplished quite a bit of grift for someone who's now only 25 years old; she had the bogus cancer claims, and sold a cookbook so her fans could be not cured of cancer just like her, plus a very successful blog and licensing deals with companies like Apple and Google, which sold apps related to the cookbook. She also collected about AU$300,000 for charities that she never actually passed on to those charitable groups, a trick Donald Trump only learned much later in life.

Justice Debbie Mortimer ruled in Melbourne Wednesday that Consumer Affairs Victoria had proven "most but not all" of its claims against Gibson:

“Ms Gibson deliberately played on the genuine desire of members of the Australian community to help those less fortunate.

“Her ‘pitch’ overwhelmingly used groups likely to evoke sympathy because of their vulnerabilities -- young girls, asylum seekers, sick children.”

One of Gibson's victims, Kylie Willey, said she was convinced by Gibson's blog and cookbook to refuse conventional treatment for leukemia for two weeks, and believes the delay in getting real treatment almost killed her:

"I'm so angry at her for making me feel like a fool. For taking my money when I donated to her cause and bought her books and apps," Ms Willey told 9NEWS.

"You're at the depths of despair, you're looking for any alternative for the horror you are going through when you go through cancer treatment.

"It's like nothing I can ever explain, it was the worst time of my life, it was horrible - she totally preyed on me."

Gibson said she learned that she didn't really have cancer in late 2014, but didn't admit she had a nonmonogamous relationship with reality until months later, in April 2015, when she told Australian Women’s Weekly she'd never 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.

Justice Mortimer said it was clear Gibson knew she had made false claims about her health and her "cure" -- among other things, she blamed her not-real cancer on a Gardasil vaccination to prevent HPV -- but the judge also refrained from finding Gibson's "unconscionable" because it was unclear Gibson knew from the start she didn't have brain cancer (the diagnosis, was, of course, not made by a medical professional, because why would you ever consult a real doctor about cancer? They're all just pawns of Big Pharma, which in Australia is pronounced "Big Faaama."

The judge said it was indeed possible that Gibson may have, at least at the beginning, been more stupid than fraudy (we're using the official legal terms here. Fun place, Australia):

“It seems to me that, at least in some respects, it might be open to find that Ms Gibson suffered from a series of delusions about her health condition,” Justice Mortimer said.

The judge went on to say that not all humans are “rational and reasonable all of the time”.

In addition to the fine, Gibson, who was not in court Wednesday and will be formally informed of the judgment in a later hearing, may face an injunction barring her from engaging in any new fraudulent schemes, and was also asked by Consumer Affairs Victoria to publish a public apology in two major Australian newspapers.

Not that she's apparently learned anything from being found guilty of aggravated quackery and being a grifty jerk, of course, because truly great alternative health pioneers/conwomen can always make a buck touting the next health fad the medical establishment doesn't want YOU to know about:

In the days leading up to the final judgment, Ms Gibson credited a new fad diet on Facebook with healing mouth cavities and shrinking her tonsils by 30 per cent.

On the closed Facebook page for Master Fast Diet, Ms Gibson gushed of how the diet and health program had changed her life.

“What a blessed week!” Ms Gibson, who went by the pseudonym Harry Gibson, wrote on the page [...]

Among several questionable claims, including dropping weight and changing her eye colour, Gibson told members of the group that since starting the natural eating plan she had also passed a “huge rope worm” and she would “never get a filling again”.

Yes. Change your diet, change your eye color. And people will believe it. Here's hoping Ms. Gibson never gets an appointment to the Trump administration where the amount of damage she could do is incalculable. After all, we already have a secretary of Health and Human Services who belonged to a quack medical group that insisted HIV doesn't cause AIDS and vaccines cause autism. She'd fit in entirely too well.

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[ / 9NEWS]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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