Overnight, 60 Minutes aired Tara Brown‘s much-publicised interview with disgraced wellness blogger Belle Gibson, and things turned fairly tense, with the host grilling her over her cancer survival claims, and at one point, straight-up calling her a “pathological liar.”
Gibson became famous via The Whole Pantry, the nutrition app she launched in order to share her story about beating cancer through healthy eating, but the app was pulled from sale after it emerged that her claims were fabricated.
“I’ve not been intentionally untruthful,” Gibson insisted at one point during last night’s interview. “I’ve been completely open when speaking about what was my reality and what is my reality now. It doesn’t match your normal or your reality.”
Things took a tense turn when Brown asked Gibson her age. “I’ve always been raised as being currently a 26-year-old,” she said. “How old are you?” Brown replied. “Well I live, knowing as I’ve always known, that I would be 26.”
“Okay Belle, this is a really, really simple question – how old are you?” Brown asked, before Gibson eventually claimed “it’s probably a question that we’ll have to keep digging for.”
The blogger told Brown that she was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer several years ago by a neurologist, who came to her home and did a series of tests.
“There was a machine with lights on the front. There are two metal pads, one below the chair and one behind your back, measuring frequencies and then he said to me that I had a stage four brain tumour and that I had four months to live,” she said.
“At the time, I believed I was having radio therapy. When he gave me medication, I was told it was oral chemotherapy and I believed it.”
Brown confronted Gibson with various past health claims, including a series of heart operations and cardiac arrests that the blogger supposedly suffered in 2009.
“Do you accept that you’re a pathological liar?”
Brown asked at one point. “No,” she replied.
The Whole Pantry founder claimed that she, too, had been the victim of a deception, by various medical professionals.
“I’m not trying to get away with anything. I’m not trying to smooth over anything. It’s not easy for me to be here,” she said. “Once I figured out where I stood and I’d received the definitive ‘you don’t have cancer’, it was traumatising.”
“Traumatising that you don’t have cancer?” asked a sceptical Brown.
“I was feeling a huge amount of grief. That I had been lied to and that I had been taken for a ride,” Gibson responded.
Many have taken Gibson to task for driving cancer sufferers away from conventional medicine with false claims of survival via healthy eating. When asked if she takes responsibility for this, she replied “I never intended on doing that. I accept that it might have happened.”
Anger at Gibson continued to simmer on social media, and there were continued calls for Gibson to donate any money she earned from her interview to cancer research.
— Luke Delaney (@_delar21) June 28, 2015
Late last week, it was revealed that Gibson will be the subject of a fraud investigation over money collected for various charities and not handed over, and may face fines or jail time as a result.