Hollywood actor Pierce Brosnan, known for his iconic role as MI5 agent in the James Bond series, on Thursday claimed that pan masala manufacturer Pan Bahar had violated his contract by falsely presenting him as a brand ambassador for its entire product line, including its tobacco-infused “mouth freshener”.
The actor released a statement expressing his “heartfelt apologies” for causing offence, if any, and blamed Pan Bahar for ‘grossly manipulating’ media outlets into believing that he endorsed the brand. Tobacco products in India come with a warning stating that its consumption will cause cancer.
“Having endured, in my own personal life, the loss of my first wife and daughter as well as numerous friends to cancer, I am fully committed to supporting women’s healthcare and research programs that improve human health and alleviate suffering,” his statement read.
People.com reported that Brosnan’s contract explicitly stated that he was to endorse a “breath freshener/tooth whitener”. He claimed to have committed himself to advertise for just one product as Pan Bahar allegedly claimed it was an “all-natural containing neither tobacco, supari, nor any other harmful ingredient.” Brosnan demanded the company to remove him from its advertising campaign, and claimed to have had no prior knowledge of endorsing something that would harm one’s health.
The ad campaign raised eyebrows in India, with social media users mocking the actor for ‘falling on hard times’. A photoshop battle soon ensued, pocking fun at Brosnan for his choice of endorsement. The reaction has largely been negative as an actor of his stature had promoted a product that is harmful to health.