After journalists dug into her questionable cancer cure claims, "natural healing" huckster Belle Gibson has admitted she lied to her followers, her friends, her family, and vulnerable cancer patients about having cancer, and curing her cancer with food and woo.
The 23-year-old Australian bullshitted the entire world about having terminal brain cancer, and profited from her completely fictional story via her "natural wellness" app, The Whole Pantry. On her blog, she claims she cured her terminal brain cancer by avoiding gluten and sugar. Shocking, I know, but: this is not how cancer works. You know what stopped the progression of my cancer? Chemo (derived from exotic plants and fungi, for real!), surgery, drugs, and a shitload of all-natural radiation, delivered via a linear particle accelerator that is even more powerful than my beloved kale juicer.
Last month, Gibson failed to donate the $300K she promised from sales of her app to charity. Friends had (jesus, finally?) begun to question whether her cancer story might be made up. Police in Victoria said they would not pursue criminal charges against Gibson, but the internet seems ready to pursue its own version of justice: The Great Moment of Mass Shaming.
Gibson gave an exclusive confession to The Australian Women's Weekly. They asked the obvious: do you have, or have you ever had, cancer?
"No. None of it's true," she replied.
"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.
But cancer patients don't have that option. The reality of living with cancer whomps us over the head every day. And the make-believe thinking that liars like Gibson promote does real harm to real people. Especially those of us who really do have cancer.
"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 told the magazine.
"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."
"I don't want forgiveness. I just think [speaking out] was the responsible thing to do. Above anything, I would like people to say, 'Okay, she's human.'"
Got it. You're human. Barely.
She may not have cancer, but as a cancer patient, I will say this: she is definitely very, very sick. Maybe, as The Australian Women's Weekly proposes, she has factitious disorder or Munchausen syndrome, which causes people to lie compulsively about being sick. I am not a psychiatrist. I do not know. I don't diagnose people or tell them how to cure their illness, because I'm not an internet fake medicine huckster.
Belle Gibson deserves professional help.
But here's what the rest of us deserve: an end to the "cancer hero" mythos that allows people like Gibson and others before her to exploit ignorance about evidence-based cancer treatments. An end to the exploitation and profiteering of bogus "cures."
From cannabis oil to vitamin C megadosing to juice fasts, there's far more bullshit info out there about how to part with your money and line the pockets of fraudsters like Gibson (and Mercola, and Oz, and Burzynski, all sonofabitches and murderers in my opinion) than there is free and science-based info about how cancer works, how treatment works, and how to get affordable and effective care.
So yeah. Fuck Belle Gibson.
But fuck the culture of magical thinking and hero idolization that built her myth into a profitable business, ignoring decades of real science, and placing vulnerable people with cancer at real risk of death.
Fuck everyone who enabled her, and profited along with her, knowing she was lying. Fuck everyone who forwarded her dumb bullshit lying articles around to people like me who actually did have cancer.
And fuck cancer.
#Superfood breakfasts with wildly inspiring women: @TheWholePantry http://t.co/qUvRBOKkjk #nourish #thewholelife pic.twitter.com/fD8emHdHB2
— Breakfast Criminals (@breakfastcrmnls) July 30, 2014