Former social media influencer and “wellness guru” Belle Gibson first caught public attention after claiming she cured herself of terminal cancer by rejecting conventional medicine in favour of a healthy diet and lifestyle. Her story was documented on a blog and social media, which became the basis for a successful book and app, featuring lifestyle advice and healthy recipes.
In 2015, however, Gibson was exposed as a fraud. It was revealed that she never had cancer and failed to donate the proceeds from her app to charity, as promised. Now, she has been summoned to appear in Federal Court following her failure to pay a AUD410,000 penalty for misleading health claims.
Beyond the psychological factors motivating Gibson’s deceit, the scandal raises important questions about the cultural and technological conditions that enable lifestyle gurus to flourish.
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