Hollywood actor Pierce Brosnan told the Delhi State Tobacco Control Cell that he was “cheated” by Pan Bahar, a mouth freshener company that had employed him to endorse the brand.
“In a written reply to the State Tobacco Control Cell of Delhi, the actor stated that he was cheated by the company as the latter did not disclose the hazardous nature of the product and other terms and conditions of the contract of advertisement,” additional director (Health) SK Arora said, reported PTI.
Brosnan had appeared in an advertisement of Pan Bahar, an Indian paan masala brand, and was criticized for endorsing a product that is said to be linked to cancer.
The Delhi government had recently issued a show-cause notice to Brosnan and asked Pan Bahar why appropriate punitive action should not be initiated against its directors and office bearers, according to the report.
“In his reply to the legal notice, Brosnan also said that his agreement with the company was over and he was ready to extend all kinds of support and cooperation to our department against such campaigns,” Arora added.
Soon after the commercial was aired in 2016, People magazine reported Brosnan as saying, “As a man who has spent decades championing women’s healthcare and environmental protection, I was distressed to learn of Pan Bahar’s unauthorized and deceptive use of my image to endorse their range of pan masala products.” According to Brosnan’s contract details, he was to advertise a “breath freshener/tooth whitener,” which wouldn’t include an ingredient that turns saliva red.
“He has given an undertaking in writing that he would never assist any company with regard to promotion of such products or other such harmful products in future. Celebrities must realize their responsibility towards society, especially the youngsters who treat them like god and follow them blindly. Such advertisements influence the minds of youngsters adversely,” Arora was quoted as saying by PTI.
In February this year, the health department issued a notice under the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003, that bans all kind of direct and indirect advertisements of tobacco products, the Indian Express reported. Arora had then said that the department had received information on the company promoting the “surrogate product” through different media platforms.
“We have issued the notice to Pierce Brosnan through the company, and also reached out to him via social media platforms. If he fails to respond to the notice, he would face punishment of a fine up to Rs 5,000 or two years in prison,” Arora had said earlier.