Wellness warrior Belle Gibson, who faked cancer, persists in her story in TV interview

Wellness warrior Belle Gibson, who faked cancer, persists in her story in TV interview

Bellegibson-60minutes
Belle Gibson tells more lies.
Image: 60 Minutes screenshot

In a television interview, Australian wellness blogger Belle Gibson refused to recant her story of suffering five different kinds of cancer, even though medical records fail to support her story.

On Sunday night, journalist Tara Brown on Channel Nine’s current affair program 60 Minutes aggressively questioned Gibson, who continued to deny she had invented the cancer story to support her Whole Pantry business that suggested people could cure cancer through their diets.

“Belle Gibson is a master manipulator of the truth.” @TaraBrown60 reflects on her confounding interview with Belle.
https://t.co/u6MlHUYLQG

— 60 Minutes Australia (@60Mins) June 28, 2015

Gibson, born Annabelle Natalie Gibson in 1991, constructed an online persona in which she added three years to her age — she is actually 23 — and portrayed herself as the proud survivor of blood, spleen, brain, uterus and liver cancers.

“I believe that I am 26.” Belle Gibson never seems to give a simple answer, even when it comes to her age. #60Mins

— 60 Minutes Australia (@60Mins) June 28, 2015

She gathered hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers, released a book and an app called The Whole Pantry, and built a career promoting alternative medicine to cure cancer. Gibson told 60 Minutes she only discovered in 2014 she didn’t have cancer, and in fact had been lied to by a doctor.

“It was really traumatising and I was feeling a huge amount of grief, that I had been lied to and that I had been taken for a ride. It took me a lot to unpack that,” she said.

We tracked down #bellegibson doctor @60Mins #60Mins #drnick pic.twitter.com/COZoDbeCD5

— Evan Gale ⛳ (@Evan__Gale) June 28, 2015

In fact, 60 Minutes found evidence that Gibson had a brain scan in 2011 at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, which she requested due to fears she had multiple sclerosis. The results show she did not have MS — or a brain tumor.

#60Mins proves Belle knew she didn’t have a brain tumour in 2011, two years before she sold her story to the world. pic.twitter.com/X2RuSKeYsN

— 60 Minutes Australia (@60Mins) June 28, 2015

Gibson’s misleading story started in 2009 on an online forum and culminated into a global deception in the next five years.

“I was going through a lot of emotional trauma and abuse at the time,” Gibson said about the period in her life. “When you are young and go through the things I had been through, you are melodramatic.”

It seemed this interview was going to be the tell-all, a time for Gibson to admit she had invented a story and a platform to say sorry to those she hurt. It started on the right foot:

“Tara, I have lost everything and I am not here to regain it. When you hit rock bottom, there is only an opportunity to be honest and to heal and to apologise and I am here to do that. There is no reason for me to lie, and it is not something I want to be doing either.”

Tara calls BS #BelleGibson #60mins #60minutes pic.twitter.com/krQITMlYb6

— Greg Barila (@GregBarila) June 28, 2015

Yet Gibson never apologised. A visibly frustrated Brown tried her best to bring Gibson around to showing regret, but Gibson instead attempted to square the inconsistencies rather than offer any remorse.

“I lived for years with the fear I was dying and that was horrible, and I am still coming to terms with that,” she said. “No one wants to live with a terminal illness, or dying.” Luckily, Gibson hasn’t had to.

Tara Brown right now. #60Mins pic.twitter.com/12lbpEC4Ef

— Sam Downing (@samwdowning) June 28, 2015

Gibson denied she lied, and instead detailed how hurtful the whole experience has been for her. Families she deceived — including one that believes she used their sick son to learn about symptoms — have called for her to be jailed.

“I have not been intentionally untruthful. I have been openly conveying and speaking about what was my reality and what is my reality today,” Gibson said, dismissing claims by medical professionals that she is mentally ill.

The machine that diagnosed Belle #60Mins pic.twitter.com/80Nx9WeOBM

— Jenna Guillaume (@JennaGuillaume) June 28, 2015

“I’m not trying to get away with anything, I am not trying to smooth over anything. It isn’t easy for me to be here, to relive over and over details,” she told the program. “I have been going through this, since last year … This has been a very private ordeal for me to know where I stand.”

Gibson may be still caught in her web of inventive stories, but there is no doubt the victims of her deception are shedding no tears for her struggles.

Tara Brown, every time Belle Gibson tries to spin another story.

#60Mins pic.twitter.com/uwKHypg1jU

— MC (@mrmikechristian) June 28, 2015

In the end, even the persistent Brown couldn’t get a straight answer and Australia continues to wait for the whole truth.

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