An Australian author who falsely claimed to have beaten cancer through healthy eating has been fined over 400,000 Australian dollars ($314,000) for “misleading” customers about charitable donations, according to a report.
Belle Gibson, who faced controversy in 2015 after she admitted she never had cancer, recently had her book and app withdrawn and had now been ordered by Federal Court Justice Debra Mortimer “to pay a total of AU$410,000 (£240,000) for five contraventions of the law relating to false claims that the proceeds would go to various charities.”
“The judge had ruled in March that Belle Gibson’s deceptive claims of donating the proceeds from the sales of The Whole Pantry and a related app constituted unconscionable conduct under Australian consumer law,” reported the Independent on Thursday.
In court, Judge Mortimer claimed Gibson had been “prepared to tell outright lies,” and added that Gibson’s refusal to turn up to civil court hearings showed she did not take any responsibility.
“One of the clear demonstrations of the dishonesty and self-interest attending Ms Gibson’s conduct was the fact she and the company she controlled did not in fact make any donations to the organisations she had mentioned in her publicity statements until public questioning of her claims,” proclaimed Judge Mortimer. “Once again, it appears she has put her own interests before those of anyone else… If there is one theme or pattern which emerges through her conduct, it is her relentless obsession with herself and what best serves her interests.”