By Katherine Hornbuckle, Media and Communications Consultant
This week we saw wellness blogger Belle Gibson admit she did not in fact have terminal cancer after weeks of media speculation about the 23-year-old and her claim that her 'wholefood diet' had cured her cancer.
Fairfax Media first broke the story regarding the legitimacy of Gibson's cancer claims after it was revealed she failed to donate $300,000 from the sales of her highly successful app to charity. Understandably, her millions of followers on social media were furious that they had been duped into accepting what appeared to be a remarkable story of survival.
Appearing on the front page of Woman's Weekly in a story titled 'The girl who conned us all', Gibson said she could explain why she lied about having cancer and asked for forgiveness from the public.
What is more troubling is that Gibson managed to live such a lie for so long. Her meteoric rise to fame seemed to have fooled us all. Even Penguin, publisher of her best-selling book The Whole Pantry later admitted it never fact-checked her story.
In this day and age, with more technology available to us than ever before, you'd be forgiven for thinking a simple Google search would uncover the truth. But with the relentless force of the 24/7 media cycle making it harder for journalists to get across various topics at the same time, it's almost inevitable that people like Gibson will slip through the cracks.
Stories like Gibson's aren't isolated incidents, and they highlight how important it is to ensure you're being reported accurately and fairly.
This means constantly monitoring your media environment, and being ready to respond and challenge any and all false claims made about you.
SAS Media and Communications can help you react quickly to protect your reputation and minimise the damage caused by untrue media claims. Contact us to find out how.