lifestyle

Two controversial Australian fitness bloggers are at war.

Ruh roh.

Leanne Ratcliffe, known for her love of bananas, and Kayla Itsines, known for her love of bikinis, are two insanely popular health and fitness bloggers.

The Australian businesswomen both have a lot in common: huge social media followings, a commitment to preaching their own distinct approaches to health and fitness, and a fondness for posing in swimwear.

But the duo are currently battling it out in an Adelaide courtroom – with ‘Bikini Girl’ (Kayla Itsines) claiming that ‘Freelee the Banana Girl’ (Leanne Ratcliffe) is spreading lies about her.

freelee bikini feature
Leanne Ratcliffe, also known as ‘FreeLee the Banana Girl’. (Photo: Facebook.)

Ms Itsines, an Australian Institute of Fitness graduate and the founder of fitness business Bikini Body Guide, has 1.38 million likes on Facebook and more than 2.4 million Instagram followers, while Ms Ratcliffe has more than 77,000 Facebook likes and almost 221,000 YouTube followers.

ADVERTISEMENT

As Adelaide Now reports, 23-year-old Ms Itsines has accused 34-year-old Ms Ratcliffe, who is famous for eating 51 bananas in a day, of defaming her.

Itsines has alleged that Ratliffe and her partner Harley Johnstone falsely claimed on YouTube that she was starving herself and/or other people.

“This is wrong and illegal,” Ms Itsines wrote in a Facebook post last month.  “So I have requested that the content be removed from the internet.”

bikini girl banana girl in court
Kayla Itsines. (Photo: Instagram)

Bikini Girl had an injunction imposed by the South Australian Supreme Court in February, Daily Mail Australia reports, and another hearing was held yesterday.

Post continues after gallery:

ADVERTISEMENT

The Adelaide Advertiser reported that more than 100 of Ratcliffe’s supporters appeared and repeatedly chanted ‘carb the f*** up’ – the vlogger’s slogan – prior to a hearing at the court yesterday.

Andrew Harris QC, who represents Itsines and her partner, said in court that his clients had wanted the offending videos taken offline immediately, but that the removal had “only partially occurred” – with only Ms Ratcliffe allegedly removing the contentious videos from her YouTube channel.

But Ms Ratcliffe and her partner have refuted Ms Itsines’ allegations, claiming they’re merely exercising their right to free speech.

In the below video, Freelee the Banana Girl asks followers to attend court. Post continues after video:

Ms Ratcliffe, a former personal trainer and former eating disorder sufferer, has also voiced some controversial views, having once boasted about losing her period and questioned the effectiveness of chemotherapy.

“I still believe that largely menstruation is toxicity leaving the body. So a lot of women are having these heavy painful periods because they have a toxic body or a toxic diet, and the body’s trying to eliminate that toxicity and get it out,” she said in one YouTube video.

In another, Ms Ratcliffe posted about a young cancer patient, 13-year-old Talia Joy, who died after a long battle with the disease. In the video – the title of which includes the claim “Chemo is killing us” – Ms Ratcliffe says she’s “mad that (Talia) is no longer with us, and the reason being chemotherapy.”

“Don’t dismiss the power of a raw vegan diet because that is what heals your body,” she said in the video. “Chemotherapy, poisoning your cells does not heal your body… How can you get well by taking poison? By injecting poison into your veins?”

freelee fruit feature
Freelee the Banana Girl has questioned the effectiveness of chemotherapy. (Picture: Facebook)

Those messages have been criticised by experts and commenters alike – with CEO of The Butterfly Foundation Christine Morgan previously telling Mamamia of the claims: “Excluding food groups or putting your body through any sort of nutritional deprivation can cause harm.”

Cancer Council Australia’s CEO Professor Ian Olver also criticised Freelee the Banana Girl’s unscientific claims, telling Mamamia: “Unfortunately, cancer treatment is not always successful, but the evidence is carefully collected to determine the best treatment for each patient.”

“There is no evidence to suggest that a raw vegan diet will cure cancer and patients who abandon recommended treatment options such as chemotherapy may be abandoning the only chance they have of controlling or curing their disease,” he said.

Ms Ratcliffe writes on her website that she began “a dietetics course in college but gave it away as it was boring as hell.”

But she claims she has “some interesting credentials – advanced nutrition, weight training, aerobic conditioning and training special populations and became clued up on the standard nutritionists way of prescribing a healthy diet.”

The hearing was adjourned until next week.

FROM OUR NETWORK
00:00 / ???