Belle Gibson has appeared on 60 Minutes to explain herself after it was revealed that the cancer she claimed to have been curing herself of had never existed in the first place.
Did you see the interview? If not, you can watch it here. This video runs for about 32 minutes and it is, I think, an important one to watch.
Tara Brown sat down with Belle Gibson, asking of her for the simple promise of honesty. I was surprised at how sensitively and patiently she dealt with Gibson, despite it being obvious that she didn’t believe a word she said. She was direct but not brutal and impressed me with her professionalism, to be honest, because I doubt many could have been as patient and level. A warning: If you’re expecting an apology or perhaps some kind of reasonable explanation, you won’t get either.
I know 60 Minutes has faced a lot of criticism over this interview. They’ve been criticised for paying her for the interview and also criticised for putting her in the spotlight again. Many have questioned Gibson’s mental health and claim that 60 Minutes was exploiting her. Others are more cynical.
It’s interesting how fast some ppl rush to say “mental illness” when someone does something heinous we can’t understand. #BelleGibson
— Mia Freedman (@MiaFreedman) June 28, 2015
60 Minutes obtained very strong evidence that Belle Gibson knew she wasn’t ill, but still, she refused to come clean. Tara Brown read excerpts from Gibson’s own published cookbook and social media updates to her and still, Belle Gibson persisted in her lies, citing poor memory among other excuses. The interview showed Gibson to be a young woman who has told so many lies that she’s probably forgotten what they all are. Gibson mentioned having her “own truths” despite those truths being vastly different to reality, as was pointed out to her repeatedly. Even being asked a very simple question about her age resulted in a convoluted and confusing answer.
I know that a lot of people don’t think this story should have been aired; that it was wrong of Channel 9 to give Gibson a platform at all and although I can absolutely understand that reaction, especially from people who were duped by her or from people who really do have or have had cancer. I know it upsets people to know the interview was paid for and I do also see that point and part of me agrees. To my mind, Gibson has done some truly heinous things. She lied about having cancer. She lied about curing herself through alternative treatments like the Gerson protocol and diet. She duped thousands of people. She encouraged them away from conventional medicines and even vaccines and we have no way of knowing how much blood is on her hands. She sold false hope and made a fortune from it. She collected monies for charity that were never dispersed to them. I can’t say sympathy is my primary emotion towards her. It’s there; but other feelings definitely take precedence. She should be apologising and begging forgiveness of every person she’s hurt. But instead, she was reportedly paid $45,000 for this interview by 60 Minutes. There is actually a petition calling for her to donate that fee to cancer research. I’d love to see her do this as a tiny act of reparation for the harm she’s caused. However, after seeing the interview, I highly doubt she will take this path. Doing this would, in a way, be an admission. And if this interview shows us anything at all, it’s that Gibson is not in a place where she is ready to admit to any wrong-doing at all.I think that, in all likelihood, Belle Gibson would not have done this interview without payment. I imagine that one’s empire, even one built on lies, crashing down like hers has probably leaves one a bit short of cash. So yes, she may have been motivated by profit or she may have hoped to exonerate herself; honestly, I have no idea. I do, however, think that it’s money well spent because it serves as a reminder. Gibson claims, in her latest version of events, that an alternative medical practitioner visited her at home and diagnosed her cancer. She says that later on, her cancers were diagnosed as having spread to her blood and multiple organs by another alternative medical practitioner. She claims it didn’t occur to her to go to an actual doctor to have this verified. That right there is a reminder, should you for some reason need one, that if you suspect you are ill you should see a doctor. Especially if you believe you have cancer, because if you believe Gibson (I don’t) she spent years living in fear of imminent death from a disease that she didn’t even have.
I’ve said it before and it bears saying again- Don’t trust a blogger with your life. If health advice on some blog sounds too good to be true, then it probably is and it’s just not worth the risk. The most important reminder this interview gives us is to be aware of our sources. Look at where your health advice is coming from. Does it match up to current health recommendations? What would your G.P. have to say about it? Not sure? Maybe you should ask them. Is it something more specific? If so, ask for a referral to a specialist. Get proper medical advice. Don’t buy in to the conspiracy theories and paranoia some people hawk to sell you supplements or books or alternative therapies- look further than that. There are many great blogs out there with a focus on health and wellness; however there are many packed with questionable information that is, at best, obtained from dubious sources and at worst- completely made up. Gibson is an example of that and we’d be well served to remember her when we are looking for heath information online.
#IBOT @ Essentially Jess