Belle Gibson is an Australian blogger who originally claimed to be diagnosed with brain cancer and given four months to live in 2009. However in 2013, Gibson went on to create a public profile on multiple social media platforms stating that she had beaten cancer by rejecting conventional treatments and finding a way to heal herself naturally. This lead to Gibson writing a book and creating a company that claimed to donate a majority of its profits to charity.
In 2015, Gibson publicly admitted that she never had cancer at any point in her life. It was also discovered that less than three percent of the profits generated by Gibson’s company were actually being donated to charity. Both Gibson and her company are facing major fines and charges.
What Gibson did is an extreme example of deception. An act of deception is usually either seen as lying or withholding information. However in this case, Gibson is both lying and withholding information.
To be lying, a person says something that they know is untrue in order to get others to believe them. In this case, Gibson lied about having cancer and the fact that her company was founded on the idea of giving to charity. This lie is immoral since it was created out of ill intent to scam others out of their money.
The information that Gibson withheld was the amount of money her company was actually giving to charity. Of the 420,000 dollars that the company made in a year, only 10,000 was actually given to charity. This contradicts the company’s statement that they were founded on the idea of giving most of their profits to charity (which can also be seen as an inconsistency).
There are some cases in which lying or withholding information may possibly be justified, but it cannot in this situation since Gibson actively deceived people for personal profit.