Gibson fined $410,000 for ‘misleading and deceptive conduct’
The Federal Court has ordered Belle Gibson to pay the state of Victoria $410,000, after earlier finding she had engaged in ‘misleading and deceptive conduct’, reports the Guardian.
Gibson was found to have built a social media empire and released The Whole Pantry cookbook (Lantern) and app based on the false claims she cured numerous cancers through following a healthy lifestyle. Gibson also made false claims about donating a large portion of her profits to charities.
In March, Federal Court Judge Debbie Mortimer upheld ‘most but not all’ of Consumer Affairs Victoria’s allegations against Gibson, finding she had engaged in ‘misleading and deceptive conduct’.
Gibson has been fined for five separate contraventions of the Australian Consumer Law Act. The $410,000 fine includes $90,000 for failing to donate proceeds from the sale of The Whole Pantry app, as publicly advertised; $50,000 for failing to donate proceeds from the launch of The Whole Pantry app; $30,000 for failing to donate proceeds from a 2014 Mother’s Day event; $90,000 for failing to donate other company profits; and $150,000 for failing to donate 100% of one week’s app sales to the family of Joshua Schwarz, a boy who had an inoperable brain tumour.
As previously reported by Books+Publishing, Penguin stopped supplying The Whole Pantry cookbook in March 2015 after Gibson admitted that some of her medical history—including claims to have used alternative therapies to survive a life-threatening brain tumour—may be false. In 2016, Penguin Australia agreed to pay Consumer Affairs Victoria $30,000 and include a prominent warning notice on any future books making statements about natural therapies, as part of an ‘enforceable undertaking’ following its publication of the book.
Category: Local news