Indian health officials aren’t happy with Pierce Brosnan and his endorsement deal with a pan masala brand.
The actor whose image appeared in many advertisements for Pan Bahar, claims he was unaware of the “hazardous” nature of the tobacco-based product.
Pan Bahar is a brand associated with pan masala, an addictive stimulant marketed as a breath freshener that often contains tobacco and other carcinogens. It is banned from sale in a number of Indian states.
Health department director SK Arora of India’s Department of Health, told The Indian Express, “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 (C$101) or two years in prison.
“In a written reply to the Delhi State Tobacco Control Cell, the actor stated that he got 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.”
The Cigarette and Other Tobacco Product Act from 2003 bans all kinds of advertisements for tobacco products.
The ads first sparked backlash in 2016, but the “James Bond” actor told People that he was“deeply shocked and saddened” by the advertisement as he lost both his first wife Cassandra Harris and stepdaughter Charlotte to cancer.
“I shall endeavour to rectify this matter,” his statement to People continued. “In the meantime, please accept my sincerest and heartfelt apologies to all whom I have offended.”