Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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Penguin seeks explanation from ‘The Whole Pantry’ author over false medical history claims

Penguin Australia is considering its options regarding its commercial relationship with cookbook author Belle Gibson following questions raised in the media about the veracity of her medical history.

Earlier this week the Australian reported that Gibson, a ‘social media entrepreneur’ who claimed to have used alternative therapy to survive a life-threatening brain tumour, admitted that some of her medical history may be false.

Penguin imprint Lantern published Gibson’s cookbook The Whole Pantry in 2014 after Gibson’s Instagram account attracted a worldwide following. Gibson, who introduced herself as ‘a young mother who had moved from Perth to Melbourne in mid-2009 to seek medical treatment for “a malignant, terminal form of brain cancer”’, posted details of her decision to treat her illness with alternative remedies in place of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Lantern publishing director Julie Gibbs told the Australian: ‘We published Belle’s recipe book in good faith—in discussions with Belle in the course of publishing the book, she always spoke clearly about her medical background. It was not something we felt we needed to verify given that the book’s content focuses on the recipes.’

A spokesperson for Penguin Australia told Books+Publishing that the publisher has ‘sought an explanation from Ms Gibson regarding recent questions raised about her medical background but are yet to receive a response from her’. ‘We are considering our options regarding our commercial relationship with Ms Gibson and The Whole Pantry,’ the spokesperson said.



Category: Local news