“A series of private messages from executives at Apple have shed light on the extent of the global tech giant’s relationship with disgraced Australian wellness blogger, Belle Gibson,” Nick Toscano and Beau Donelly report for The Sydney Morning Herald. “Apple, which has remained silent for more than two years over its partnership with Ms Gibson, launched a marketing strategy to actively promote its star app developer and her unverified story around the world.”

“‘A single mum who was diagnosed with brain cancer, Belle turned to whole food cooking and eating,’ said an email from Apple that was sent to selected Australian media. ‘She wanted to share what she had learnt but didn’t want to use a website or blog. Belle decided she wanted to build an app for iPhone and iPad,'” Toscano and Donelly report. “In documents tendered to the courts as part of legal action against Ms Gibson, Apple said the public relations strategy was implemented almost immediately after The Whole Pantry app went live in August 2013. ‘Once Apple saw the app,’ the company told the Federal Court of Australia, ‘it was decided that Apple Australia would make an effort to introduce the developer (Annabelle Gibson) to the Australian media.'”

Disgraced Australian wellness blogger, Belle Gibson

Disgraced Australian wellness blogger, Belle Gibson

“Emails back and forth between senior Apple staff and Ms Gibson speak volumes about how closely she had been embraced by the company. They begin with ‘Hello darling one’ or ‘Lovely’ or ‘Sweetest,’ and sign off with kisses,” Toscano and Donelly report. “In the acknowledgements section of her book, Ms Gibson singles out three Apple staff, describing Luke Bevans, the Apple App Store manager for Australia and New Zealand, as her mentor… Even after the first news stories began exposing Gibson’s lies, in March 2015, copies of private messages seen by Fairfax Media reveal Apple staff were unwavering in their support of Ms Gibson… Internal emails from the tech giant reveal she had a particularly close relationship with one Apple staffer, whom sources have described as her ‘handler’ in Australia.”

“A week after the news of Ms Gibson’s con broke – and it was clear she had become a liability – a flurry of panicked correspondence was exchanged between Apple’s Australian offices and its US headquarters in California. The scandal broke on the eve of Apple’s smart watch launch in 2015, which was to have featured The Whole Pantry as one of its central apps. Ms Gibson had been working with Apple in secret on the smart watch version of her app,” Toscano and Donelly report. “Apple’s senior PR manager in America, Ted Miller, and Matt Fischer, vice-president of the App Store, were notified of the scandal and plans to sever ties with Ms Gibson.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Beyond the fact that one should never underestimate the power of a pretty face, you can see how Apple might have been seduced by Gibson’s con, given Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ medical history:

[Steve Jobs died] after a pancreatic tumour spread elsewhere, delayed having operations and chemotherapy for nine months after the disease was discovered in October 2003.
In spite of pleas from family and friends, he tried to cure himself through acupuncture sessions, drinking special fruit juices, visiting ‘spiritualists’ and using other treatments he found on the internet. Some cancer experts have said that Mr Jobs may have extended his life or even survived if he had promptly tackled his cancer aggressively with scientifically proven medical treatments.

[Biographer Walter Isaacson] said that before he died the 56-year-old had come to realise that he had made a mistake. “We talked about this a lot,” Isaacson told a television interview. “He wanted to talk about it, how he regretted it. I think he felt he should have been operated on sooner.” Asked why “such a smart man could do such a stupid thing”, Isaacson said: “I think he felt: if you ignore something you don’t want to exist, you can have magical thinking. It had worked for him in the past. He would regret it.”

Isaacson states in the book that several other Jobs confidantes, including Mona Simpson, his sister, and Art Levinson, an Apple board member, pushed him to embrace conventional medicine. “I told him he was crazy,” said Andrew Grove, the former head of the computer chip company Intel. When he eventually agreed to treatment, Mr Jobs went to great expense to ensure that he was given the most pioneering work available…Jon Swaine, The Telegraph, October 21, 2011

Steve Jobs tried everything from exotic diets to cutting-edge treatments in brave battle with cancer – October 21, 2011
Biographer: Steve Jobs refused early and potentially life-saving surgery for nine months (with video) – October 20, 2011
Doctor: There’s no way of knowing if nine-month surgery delay shortened Steve Jobs’ life – October 15, 2011
Harvard Medical School researcher: Steve Jobs’ trust in alternative medicine likely shortened his life – October 14, 2011