Belle Gibson and Culture as moral antibodies - does society appropriately deal with health charlatans?

 Belle Gibson and Culture as moral antibodies - does society appropriately deal with health charlatans?

Belle Gibson shows that most of us care about right and wrong writes Nicholas Hookway, Lecturer, Sociology at University of Tasmania, Australia. "With her lies about having cancer and her willingness to cash in on the hopes of actual cancer patients, Belle Gibson – the Australian woman behind The Whole Pantry app – is indicative of our run-down, self-indulgent and narcissistic moral world, right?

From an insatiable desire for fame and attention to the shallowness and consumerism of the wellness and New Age movement, Gibson’s tale of deceit embodies all that is wrong with the modern world. Or so the thinking goes.

But there’s a different story to be told here: one that focuses not on Gibson’s shocking lie that she healed herself naturally of cancer but the overwhelming moral response to her mass deception and the social role this plays.



Belle Gibson may reveal our vulnerability to be hoodwinked by food fads and wellness warriors but the response to her transgressions is a powerful reminder of the values we share in common – and what happens when you violate them."


Some interesting discussion in the comments section.

How do You think society should deal with such charlatans?


Photo: Paddy melon plants sprouting after a heavy summer rain. The fruit looks like a watermelon and the plants are far tougher, surviving on little moisture, but the fruit is horrible. Not even sheep will eat the plant or its melons.

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2 Replies

  • Yes there is always someone out there ready to sell you a cure for cancer. With so many desperate people especially in the internet age there needs to be a global response. Getting such an agreement would be hard to achieve. Best wishes

  • You are right about the need for a global response to what is a global problem in our increasingly networked world and that's the case for all Internet crime. Unfortunately our legal systems have not kept up with the global nature of Internet technology and the many crimes it has enabled. That puts the onus back on us to be on guard against charlatans that now use the reach of the internet to scam victims world wide...

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