A popular Australian food blogger who claimed she beat terminal cancer through healthy eating—and used that backstory to sell a popular cookbook and app—now admits “none of it’s true.” Belle Gibson, creator of The Whole Pantry, came clean this week after journalists and investigators began to unravel her story.
Gibson, 26, at first defended herself by saying that a faulty diagnosis by a German “magnetic therapist” led her to mistakenly believe she had blood, spleen, uterus and liver cancers. But she still maintained her brain cancer, the illness for which she’s best known, was real.
In the interview, Gibson—who’s been known to advocate against conventional medicine and vaccines, and once claimed her health issues were caused by Gardasil—admits “she is passionate about avoiding gluten, dairy and coffee, but doesn’t really understand how cancer works,” Women’s Weekly said in a preview of the piece.
Her publisher, Penguin Australia, has pulled her book, which was due to be published in the U.S. and U.K. this month, saying it published her recipes “in good faith.” The Whole Pantry app, which has sold more than 300,000 copies, is no longer available on Apple’s store.
Consumer Affairs Victoria is now investigating the fake cancer survivor for failing to make a promised $227,000 donation to charity from sales of her app. Victoria Police said last week that they wouldn’t charge her with a crime.
In her interview, Gibson gave no explanation for why she perpetrated the hoax, although the Weekly reportedly speculates she suffers from Munchausen syndrome, a condition marked by faking severe illnesses for attention.