Apple found itself in an awkward situation prior to the launch of the Apple Watch, when one of its star developers was exposed as a fraud who had lied about her health condition to become famous.
An article published in the Australian newspaper The Age reveals just how close Apple was to wellness blogger and developer Belle Gibson — and how the company was ultimately forced to make the call to drop her just before its important Apple Watch went on sale in 2015, after the true story came out.
Gibson was a 20-something entrepreneur when she rose to fame after claiming that she had treated her own terminal brain cancer without conventional medicine. An app she had created, called the Whole Pantry, was supposed to be one of Apple’s main “health and wellness” apps — and Gibson was singled out and promoted as a developer by Apple.
Apple was close enough to Gibson that emails to her from Apple staffers included greetings such as, “Hello darling one,” “Lovely,” and “Sweetest”, and signed off with kisses.
When her story started to fall apart, and her health claims (including the terminal cancer) were called into question, however, Apple employees in Australia and Cupertino shared a number of panicked messages “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.”
Apple’s senior PR manager in America, Ted Miller, and Matt Fischer, vice-president of the App Store, were notified of the scandal, and made the call to drop Gibson at the eleventh hour. All signs of her app were then scrubbed from Apple’s press materials and website.
It’s an intriguing story, which is also told in a new book titled The Woman Who Fooled The World, published by Scribe. According to The Age, Apple refuses to speak publicly about its relationship with the developer.
While it’s certainly not Apple’s fault that this happened (any more than its the fault of anyone else who helped share her story without the proper fact checking), the results were definitely a headache that Apple didn’t need at the time.
Source: The Age
Via: Patently Apple