Monday
Mar162015

The Whole Pantry Charity Fraud.

Belle Gibson claims to have survived cancer and has used the story of her miraculous survival to raise money for charity by creating The Whole Pantry, an electronic cookbook full of recipes to promote a healthy lifestyle. However despite raising over $300,000 for charity Ms Belle has instead kept the money rather than handing it over.

Melbourne businesswoman Belle Gibson, founder of food and health app The Whole Pantry, solicited donations from a loyal following of 200,000 people in the name of at least five charities that have no record of receiving money from her. -The Age

When confronted by angry members of the public The Whole Pantry started spewing all sorts of pathetic excuses for the charity swindle. Their favorite being that their books are being brought up to date.

The Whole Pantry also states on its Facebook page: "TWP, is a for-profit company, but has great, enthusiastic intentions of giving back as much as possible to the organisations and charities which the TWP team and community support, respect and are passionate about." This claim to be a non-profit company is quickly refuted with a search of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission records.

The Whole Pantry is not a company, or any other type of legal entity. Instead it is the business name of Belle Gibson who runs The Whole Pantry as a sole trader. There is of course nothing wrong with this particular business model, but why lie and pretend to be a company when you are not. I can only speculate that this may be to take the heat off her co-conspirators who have referred to her as "Belle, our previous Managing Director,". Or it could be the fact that individuals face prison time, while a company only faces a $28,000 fine.

Not only did Belle Gibson/The Whole Pantry fail to pass on the money she raised for charity but now there are doubts about her having ever had cancer. In fact she now seems to be covering up all claims of having ever had cancer.

SOCIAL media entrepreneur Belle Gibson appears to be erasing her stories of terminal illness from the internet, as further evidence emerged yesterday casting doubt on her claims to have survived a terminal brain tumour for five years without treatment. Ms Gibson, who began an internationally successful “wellness” business on the back of her claims, failed yesterday to respond to a report in The Australian that revealed her history of unusual and contradictory claims of terminal illness. -Herald Sun
Belle Gibson built her little business empire with story of her cancer survival and if she hadn't swiped the charity money chances are nobody would question her health claims. After all who's going to take the risk of falsely accusing a cancer patient, of anything.
Friday
Feb272015

US Anti-vaxxers praise the murder of Polio workers.

Gunmen opened fire on a team of polio vaccinators in Pakistan's restive southwest on Wednesday, killing four of them and forcing authorities to halt an immunisation drive, officials said.

The incident happened on the eastern outskirts of Quetta, the capital of oil and gas rich Baluchistan province. -News.net

 Anti-vaxxers have reacted to this news of murder with delight and celebration. On a Facebook group called Vaccine Resistance Movement. 

Henry Carling of South Bend, Indiana writes: Sad but think how many children were saved. No worse than bombing an abortion clinic.

 

 Lou Ine writes: too bad bill gates wasn’t there

 

Michael Kohloff of Riverside, California writes: I can’t really fault them. Self Defense.

 

Haven DeLay writes: Can you blame these people in India for being angry? I think not. Bill should make a visit to India. Bet they would just love to see him there. I just have no sympathy for child poisoners.

 

Rose Love from Reno, Nevada writes: Epic Karma!! If someone came in and killed, sterilized or paralyzed 47,500 of my children and friends and families children I might be tempted to do the same.

Murder is Epic?

Could the anti-vaccination movement become any more unhinged? My prediction; yes.

Friday
Feb132015

Anti-vaxxer silences The Spudd

A favorite tactic of miscreants seeking to silence their critics is to threaten a lawsuit in the hope that the website owner will cave into the threat and remove the criticism from the internet.

TheSpudd.com a satire site that pokes fun at alternative health cranks has become the latest victim of this tactic.

Yes folks for the first time, and presumably not the last, The Spudd has been threatened with libel action about a recent post. The post has since been taken down and we will not be divulging any details about the person responsible. -The Spudd

Unfortunately the Spudd did cave into the threat and the material that the anti-vaxxer wanted removed is now gone. In my opinion handing the anti-vaxxer an easy victory like this only encourages them to continue the activity against their critics. Not only has the requested content been removed but the decision not to name the anti-vaxxer means there can be no Streisand Effect either.

Wednesday
Jan282015

Tenpenny tour finished before it began.

Anti-vaccination campaigner Sherri Tenpenny has just announced that her tour in Australia is cancelled.

It's interesting the Tenpenny should cite threats of violence as a reason for the cancellation. Especially as all the death threats and abuse during this campaign have come from her own supporters.

See: Venue cancels after anti-vaxxers threaten to bomb it.

There are other examples of Tenpenny supporters acting in this way which can't be disclosed for legal reasons. However Tenpenny will conveniently omit the fact that the only known threats have come from her own supporters.

I suspect the real reason for her cancellation is that no venue will have her. The false victim card is a favorite amongst anti-vaxxers, rather than just admitting that no one wants them. So until Tenpenny can provide anything to substantiate her claims to have been threatened it remains just as dubious as anything else she says.

Hopefully this cancellation will put anti-vaxxers on notice that they are not welcome in Australia and we will continue to stop them. Go spread your pseudo-science fear mongering elsewhere. #StopAVN FTW.

Tuesday
Jan272015

Dodgy Tenpenny Ticket Sales

The speaking tour by US anti-vaccination campaigner Sherri Tenpenny no longer has any venues willing to host it. Every single venue that was set to host her talks has since cancelled her events, including the well respected Rydges Hotel.

A high-profile anti-vaccination campaigner's tour of Australia is in jeopardy after every venue booked to host her controversial seminars pulled out.

Sherri Tenpenny, an American osteopath who says vaccines are not safe and effective for children and that they are linked to conditions including autism, was booked to speak at 11 venues in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide in February and March.

According to the organisers of her "Birth Baby and Beyond" and "Raising Healthy Children Naturally" talks, hundreds of tickets have been sold for up to $200 each.

But after a pro-vaccination group's campaign to stop the tour, all of the venues have cancelled.

-Sydney Morning Herald

But anti-vaccination campaigners have never been quick to hand back refunds, and it looks like the Tenpenny Tour is no exception. Despite all 11 events no longer having a venue the GanKinMan Foundation; a fake organisation set up by Stephanie Messenger continues to sell tickets.

The tickets are now being sold as "Venue to be decided" and are non-refundable. So anyone who cannot make it to the unknown venue will not be given their money back. This also applies to people who already purchased tickets before the venues pulled out. This runs contrary to Australian Consumer Protection Law which entitles existing ticket holders to a refund since the product/service has been changed without their prior consent.

So I sent an email to the ticket broker Eventbrite to ask these questions.

Hello Eventbrite,

I am writing to express my concern about an event with tickets being sold via Eventbrite.

The event in question is promoted by the GanKinMan Foundation & Get Rid of SIDS Project, Inc

http://www.eventbrite.com.au/o/gankinman-foundation-amp-get-rid-of-sids-project-inc-7720649867

All venues that were originally set to host these events have since cancelled the venue bookings due to the controversial nature of the planned event. One such venue to cancel an event is the highly reputable Rydges Southpark Hotel, Adelade, Australia. As covered by the main stream media here: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jan/19/anti-vaccination-seminar-venues-all-pull-out-but-tour-will-go-ahead

I am concerned about the fact that Non-refundable tickets are still being sold by the event organisers despite having no planned venue available. Should the organiser find a new venue, will Eventbrite issue refunds to ticket holders who cannot make it to the new venues?

Another concern I have is that the “GanKinMan Foundation” does not appear to be a registered organisation and its “official” website gankinman.com is using a whois privacy service to conceal its ownership information. It should go without saying that a fake organisation anonymously selling non-refundable tickets to events without venues is a significant redflag for possible fraudulent activity.

I ask that your Trust & Safety Team look into the legitimacy of these events.

Thank You,

Sincerely,

~Dan Buzzard

I received the following response from Eventbrite.

Hello,

Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention. To clarify, Eventbrite is a self service online ticketing and registration tool, so all content is provided by the event page creator.

After reviewing the events specified, we can confirm the event pages currently comply with Eventbrite terms of service.

You can review our terms of service at http://eventbrite.com/tosEventbrite has a robust Trust and Safety team, If an event listed on Eventbirite takes place significantly not as described or is cancelled without attendee communication, our processes, in conjunction with any dispute processes the payment processor has in place means that attendees always have a recourse for refunds. -EventBrite

Unfortunately Eventbrite wouldn't cancel the event because it doesn't currently violate their terms of service. However this is not all bad news because although the tickets are still on sale Eventbrite can still force a refund even if the event organisers would prefer to keep the money (After all what is a fake foundation for?).

An event without a venue or with a venue that is to far away from the original when the tickets were sold will likely count as "significantly not as described" and it will also be extremely hard to find a venues of comparable quality to those which cancelled. As it stands a full cancellation voluntary or otherwise is looking more and more likely by the day.