Belle Gibson’s Whole Pantry app removed from App Store and Apple Watch
Things have truly unravelled for Whole Pantry app developer Belle Gibson after allegations arose last week that she faked her terminal cancer diagnosis. The furore has reached such a level that Apple has removed her app from the App Store and her Whole Pantry recipe book has also been removed from the shelves.
Belle Gibson rose to fame and fortune after the star entrepreneur created the popular Whole Pantry app after apparently beating terminal brain cancer with a wholesome diet and a healthy lifestyle.
But doubts about her claims reached a crescendo last week and not only did she disappear from view but so did a lot of her social media posts related to her cancer battle.
I met Belle Gibson at the Apple event in Cupertino in September last year when the Apple Watch was introduced alongside the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
She was there because she was the first and only Australian developer who was handpicked by Apple to customise her Whole Pantry app for the Apple Watch.
I was offered an interview with her and the fact that she was the only Aussie developer there was reason enough to get out my recorder.
But the most amazing thing was the fact that she was suffering from terminal brain cancer.
I was introduced to Belle in the hands-on area after the formal launch event just after I’d taken my first look at Apple Watch and the new iPhones.
She was wearing a white shirt and had an Apple guest lanyard hanging around her neck. She was smiling ear to ear while it dawned on her that this recognition by Apple was a life-changing experience.
I shook her hand and she politely introduced herself before I explained that our interview was for my Tech Guide podcast.
The interview went very well (as you can hear on the audio player above). Belle was articulate and the passion for what she was doing really shone through.
I had the question about her cancer in the back of mind and I had to think of a way to introduce it so she would freely talk about her health.
“How did you come up with your app? What was the motivating factor?” I asked her.
“Five years ago I was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer,” she replied and went on to describe her health challenges.
These claims are now at the heart of her current woes with allegations flying that she faked her diagnosis.
Going by what she said it sounded like she was winning the battle with her health.
“And how’s your health today? I asked her. She paused for a few seconds and appeared to be fighting back tears.
“It’s funny that I’m here,” she replied. “Six weeks ago, um, I was re-diagnosed with multiple cancers, um, but I’m feeling on top of the world.”
So according to Ms Gibson, her most recent diagnosis was in July 2014 – six weeks before the Apple Watch unveiling. Right around the time she would have learned that Apple chose her for this money-can’t –buy recognition for her Whole Pantry app.
At the end of the interview, I clicked off the recorder and was amazed at what I heard. Here’s a talented, passionate and attractive young woman, afflicted with this terrible disease but who’d still found the strength and dignity to not let anything stop her achieving her goals.
With the interview now over I told her what an inspiration she is. I told her I wanted to hug her – and I did.
I gave her my business card and asked her to keep in touch about her app and her work with Apple Watch.
In return she also gave me her business card which had her name and the words “gamechanger, mother, writer” underneath.
What Belle Gibson does from here is hard to predict. She has promised an open letter to address all of these issues and claims.
The Whole Pantry app has now been removed from the App Store. It was also on the Apple Watch page of features apps for the smartwatch as recently as a couple of days ago but it’s gone too.
It is not know whether she voluntarily removed The Whole Pantry from the App Store or whether it was Apple’s decision.
The comments in the review section on the app’s page in the App Store were savage since her questionable cancer diagnosis came to light. These comments may have convinced Ms Gibson that the best course of action was to take it down.
Regardless of whoever made that decision it had a flow on effect on the Apple Watch section of the Apple website which was showcasing the apps that would be available for the device from launch.
The Whole Pantry was there among a number of other Apple Watch apps. Now it’s nowhere to be seen.
To add to Ms Gibson’s woes, her book publisher Penguin has also removed her Whole Pantry book from shelves and her US publisher has cancelled next month’s release.
How she comes back from this will definitely be bigger than any challenge in her life – real or fictional.