Poonam Pandey’s PR agency apologises for fake death stunt, says Sitharaman’s mention of cervical cancer ’made no change’

Poonam Pandey's PR agency Schbang have apologized for faking her death as part of a cervical cancer awareness campaign, sparking controversy and questioning the ethics of such tactics.

Livemint
Updated5 Feb 2024, 08:57 AM IST
Actress and model Poonam Pandey posts a video on her Instagram account and confirmed she is alive and faked her death on Saturday
Actress and model Poonam Pandey posts a video on her Instagram account and confirmed she is alive and faked her death on Saturday(ANI)

Poonam Pandey had kicked up a controversial storm inviting backlash on Saturday after revealing she had faked her death in an Instagram post as part of a cervical cancer awareness campaign. Now, Pandey's PR agency, Schbang, has issued a statement apologising for their actions.

The actions by Poonam Pandey and her agency Schbang has questioned the ethics of using these tactics for raising awareness for a health campaign.

In a statement posted on Instagram, Schbang apologised for their actions, particularly to those who have faced or witnessed the challenges of cancer.

"Yes, we were involved in the initiative for Poonam Pandey to spread awareness about Cervical Cancer in collaboration with Hauterfly. To start off, we would like to extend a heartfelt apology - especially towards those who have been triggered as a result of having faced/having a loved one face the hardships of any kind of Cancer," a statement read.

The PR agency of Poonam Pandey, Schbang, also claimed that that there was no “curiosity regarding cervical cancer” when Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman mentioned it during the Union Budget Session 2024 on 1 February. 

"Our actions were driven by a singular mission - to elevate awareness about Cervical Cancer. In 2022, India registered 123,907 Cervical Cancer cases and 77,348 deaths. After Breast Cancer, Cervical Cancer is the second-most frequent malignancy affecting middle aged women in India," the PR agency's statement added. 

Justifying Poonam Pandey's actions that triggered a furore across the nation, the agency claimed her mother battled cancer.

"Many of you may be unaware but Poonam's own mother has bravely battled Cancer. Having been through the challenges of battling a disease like this at such close personal quarters, she understands the importance of prevention and the criticality of awareness, especially when a vaccine is available," it added.

Poonam Pandey "bravely fought the disease" and died, on Friday Schbang posted on Poonam Pandey's Instagram handle, but the fake announcement was soon met with online criticism that included accusations it was a "deceptive stunt".

A flurry of obituaries from media outlets followed the original announcement and Poonam Pandey's Wikipedia page was also updated to reflect her apparent death, while Bollywood stars posted mournful tributes.

But others had expressed scepticism after noticing that footage of Pandey aboard a boat in Goa, apparently in good health, had been posted to her account four days before the announcement.

The 32-year-old conceded to her 1.3 million followers in another video posted on Instagram that her death had been a hoax.

"Yes, I faked my demise, extreme I know. But suddenly we all are talking about cervical cancer, aren't we?" Poonam Pandey said. "I am proud of what my death news has been able to achieve."

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First Published:5 Feb 2024, 08:57 AM IST
HomeNewsIndiaPoonam Pandey’s PR agency apologises for fake death stunt, says Sitharaman’s mention of cervical cancer ’made no change’

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