Thursday, May 12, 2016

Belle Gibson to be Prosecuted for Cancer Lies

Wow.  It has been a long time.  I sort of doubt at this point that anyone reads the blog what with my long absence and all, but for anyone who stumbles across it again, you get a fresh post!  First, let me apologize for not writing a post sooner.  A project I started working on back in November that was to "last three weeks" has now turned into months.  The promise of only having to "work 40 hours a week" was brutally and swiftly canned and replaced with nights, weekends and all remaining free time I once foolishly took for granted (or "granite" as we say here in Texas).   This past week, we finally stamped out the fire closest to us and for the first time in months the nearest fire is being tended by a lone cowboy far, far out on the range.  But anyway, back to the subject matter of this blog.

So there has finally been some good news in the world of cancer scams: Belle Gibson may be prosecuted in connection with her fraud.  I cannot begin to express my joy with this development.  For over a year it looked as though Belle would get away with scamming people out of their hard-earned money, and worst of all, convincing people with cancer that there was a natural cure out there for them that could work miracles.  Sadly, the latter part is not what is considered the crime here, but a prosecution for breaking consumer laws is at least a start.  My hope is that the fear of prosecution might just stop the next scammer (and oh how we know how many are out there).

The other really good news is that Penguin Books got a $30,000 fine for not fact-checking and publishing Belle's (very obvious) lies about curing her cancer naturally.  To me, this is a very important step in protecting people with cancer.  By publishing those claims, Penguin Books gave a lot of legitimacy to Belle's scam.  Penguin is a publishing house with a good reputation, and that reputation naturally validates lies that might otherwise be met with skepticism.  Indeed, I do not think that the fine of $30,000 was high enough.  It should be ten times that.  It ought to be punitive.  At any rate, I see all this as a remarkable first step towards finally holding all these people accountable for their actions.  No doubt every publishing house in the world got a memo from legal on this.

I cannot help but think that everyone who came here and supported the blog and demanded the truth from Belle played an important role in all this.  We refused to back down even when Belle played her "poor me" game.  As we have seen subsequently, when truly cornered, no one who makes these "remarkable" claims ever offers any proof whatsoever that what they are saying is true.  All Penguin, Cosmopolitan, numerous Australian newspapers, and Apple had to do was ask for Belle to prove her claims.  I hope now that these entities can see how dangerous it is for them to loan their reputations and legitimacy to someone like Belle.  It is incredibly harmful to the health of cancer patients and to the pocketbooks of everyone else.  The next time you see one of these stories in a publication with a solid reputation, write to them and demand to see the proof.  Belle only got as far as she did because she had a lot of enablers who should have known better.