Apple PR Boss Jesse James Exposed For Support Of Con Artist
Apple Australia has been exposed after it was revealed that they touted PR coverage for disgraced Australian wellness blogger, Belle Gibson.
Private messages from Jesse James A senior PR Manager at Apple and a former Samsung PR manager, have been revealed in a recent Court case.
Belle Gibson was a con who faked having a cure for cancer.
An extract from a new book about her describes the time she faked a violent seizure in front of her four-year-old son and his kindergarten friends while at his birthday party.
James who is well known for her manipulative PR strategies wrote “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.”
James PR strategy for the disgraced blogger 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 try to introduce the developer (Annabelle Gibson) to the Australian media.”
The Sydney Morning herald claims that James emails, went back and forth between senior Apple staff and Ms Gibson and spoke 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.
Ms Gibson at one stage singled 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.
When the Age exposed Gibson for failing to hand over thousands of dollars promised to charity and deleting social media posts questioning her miracle cancer-recovery story, one message from an Apple staffer who worked intimately with Gibson described the news coverage as “unfortunate”.
“[The] unfortunate article focused on highlighting start up entrepreneurial issues of competing and conflicting goals, dismissive of great work already done or to be done. Worst of all, it compromises the latter,” the message said.
“Spoke with Belle earlier and she is pragmatic about this unpleasantness and determined to take forward steps continuing in the work instead of drawing interest to this kind of blind-sightedness.”
When the Australian published explosive comments from Gibson herself, in which she conceded it was possible she had been misdiagnosed, staff at Apple appeared unperturbed.
One of the company’s top public relations managers in Australia, Jesse James, emailed Gibson the same morning that the article appeared on the front page of The Australian to approve smart watch promotional material for Ms Gibson’s app, The Whole Pantry.
“Hope you’re feeling a bit better today lady,” Ms James signed off.
Recently Gibson was ordered to pay a fine of $410,000 after being found guilty of misleading and deceptive conduct earlier this year.
The Federal Court in Melbourne found she misled her readers when she claimed her brain cancer was cured through alternative therapies and nutrition.
It was later revealed she never had the disease.
Ms Gibson made $420,000 after building a social media empire and releasing The Whole Pantry cookbook and app, based on the claims.
Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) launched an investigation, and in June 2016 brought a civil case against Ms Gibson and her company Inkerman Road Nominees, which has since been shut down.
Justice Mortimer said despite significant publicity surrounding Ms Gibson’s charitable pledges, she made only three donations totalling $10,800.
She said that if Ms Gibson managed to pay the fine, it would be good to see the money donated to those who had been falsely promised donations.
Victorian Minister for Consumer Affairs Marlene Kairouz said Ms Gibson deserved the harsh penalty.
“I think she carefully planned for this,” Ms Kairouz said.
“She knew exactly what she was doing and thankfully there aren’t many people out there like Belle Gibson.”