It was arguably one of the most awkward and seat-shifting interviews on Aussie TV for some time and some 1.073 million metro viewers have tuned in to see Belle Gibson attempt to explain herself on last night’s 60 Minutes; an interview she reportedly received $45,000 for.
Gibson claims to be a wellness expert and cancer survivor; however, its since been revealed she’s actually an apparent fraud and pathological liar and, in fact, never had the brain cancer that she claims.
In last night’s interview, 60 Minutes’ reporter, the exasperated Tara Brown, pressed Gibson to tell the truth.
“Do you accept that you’re a pathological liar” Brown probed.
Gibson shot back with a direct “no”.
The 24-year-old has alledgedly made a small fortune from her wellness book called The Whole Pantry and blogs that claimed healthy eating had cured her cancer. It has been reported that Gibson’s book has made more than a $1 million in sales and downloads alone. Gibson has said she had donated a large portion of the sales to charity; however, there has been no evidence of that actually happening. On her LinkedIn profile Gibson claims to be a philanthropist. There has also been allegations that she has raised money for children’s cancer, although no monies have ever been put forward.
In interviews she has given to media, she’s gone under as many as five different names and her age has also oscillated wildly. Gibson has also claimed to have had a stroke, heart surgery and claimed the brain cancer had spread to her kidney and liver.
Gibson’s book The Whole Pantry has subsequently been pulled off shelves by the publisher while Apple has banned it from online sales. Elle magazine was so suckered in by the lies they labelled her “The Most Inspiring Woman You’ve Met This Year”. In 2014, Bauer’s Cosmopolitan magazine gave Gibson its “Fun, Fearless Female’ social media award.
In last night’s hour-long interview, Brown continually contradicted Gibson’s story; however, the frazzled interviewee said it was “my reality” and insisted that she believed that she had had cancer, although now was less sure.
Brown continually asked Gibson if she knew what lying even was; while Gibson said the fact that she believed she had cancer meant it did not constitute a lie. Brown even offered Gibson a chance at redemption. “I just wonder, Belle, if – and I don’t know if you’re at a stage where you’ll ever admit it – but whether you just didn’t know what you were getting yourself into. You probably thought you weren’t doing any harm … you thought you could get away with it.”
“There was nothing to get away with, Tara,” Gibson shot back.
Writing in this morning’s Fairfax press, Gordon Farrer, associate lecturer in journalism at RMIT said of last night’s program: “In an age when it is so easy to deceive online, to create personas and stories that can be so difficult to expose as false, the search for truth is the journalist’s most important function.
“Did we get the truth on Sunday? Maybe. Some of it, at least. But it wasn’t the whole truth. The more depressing question for the journalist to ask is: do people even care about the truth?
“Don’t know. Hope so. What we do know is that they like a public lashing. And that’s what 60 Minutes gave us.” Farrer wrote.