The ‘Whole’ truth or daredevil?

1426541426129We all love stories of human endeavour, especially when an underdog beats the odds and triumphs over adversity.  We admire the person, heavily invest in their success and learn from their wisdom.  In a world filled with bad news, these good news stories offer a rare beacon of hope.

This seemed apparent when Belle Gibson’s story emerged.  Belle depicted herself as a brave young Australian mother who had survived brain cancer and decided to fight by reinventing a life based on health and wellbeing.  She amassed a worldwide social media following with her ‘The Whole Pantry’ philosophy, released a best-selling app and she even had a book deal with Penguin.  Belle’s journey and apparent transformation touched people’s lives profoundly.  She was an inspiration for cancer sufferers and ordinary people all over the world.

Sadly, recently the media broke an even bigger story: alleging that the entire Belle Gibson tale – from the cancer to the recovery – was a fabrication.  Proof has been requested of the various cancers, with none emerging.  Promised charity donations from Gibson’s app sales have also not been forthcoming.  Penguin and Apple pulled their support.  Gibson’s followers all over the world are angry and hurt.

The fallout has been ferocious and brutal.  Dishonesty is a deep violation: a transgression of our trust, empathy and compassion.  We feel ripped off in the worst possible way not monetarily but emotionally.

Stories like Gibson’s are powerful because they appeal to our higher selves.  But just like the sun has a shadow, inauthentic storytelling is the dark side of storytelling.

Please comment – I love hearing from you.

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  • Reply

    Yamini, thanks for your thoughts on this. I’ve been giving serious thought to writing a piece about the whole genre of
    celebrity ‘experts’ and there are many. At a deeper level I have serious concerns about the willingness of publishing houses to rush to grab the celeb dollar and not check or verify the claims that are being made. Belle is just one of many…Pete Evans another, and countless others ‘selling’ themselves through the guise of being an expert.
    Just because someone has successfully marketed themselves through social media or a TV show does not make them an expert in a field, especially in the health, nutrition and fitness areas.

    In addition, these ‘celebperts’ may, in fact, cause serious illness and damage to people.

    Being a writer comes with responsibilities whatever platform you write on. Being a publisher also comes with responsibilities. The Belle and Pete Evans episodes should act as a prompt for everyone involved in this ‘industry’ to have a good look at themselves, their ethics and role.

    • Yamini Naidu

      Hi Jacqui
      I totally agree with you. I love how you have created the moniker ‘celebperts’ whose wise musings have to be treated with caution. It is like would you take medical advice from your plumber or legal advice from your dentist? Sadly in an era of crass commercialisation and short lived celebrity life spans, quite often the pressure to make monetary gain while the sun of commercial success shines can lead to poor decisions and lowering of responsibility all around. I would love to see you explore and even pitch this as an article idea to main stream media.
      Best wishes

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