After appearing in a surrogate advertisement for paan masala manufacturer Pan Bahar, Hollywood actor Pierce Brosnan has claimed that the company “cheated” him by not disclosing the harmful nature of its product, PTI reported. Surrogate advertising is a form of advertising used to promote products that cannot be publicly advertised.
“In a written reply to the Delhi State Tobacco Control Cell, the actor stated that he was cheated by the company as it 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 on Wednesday.
Arora said Brosnan added that his agreement with Pan Bahar was over and that he was ready to extend “all kinds of support and cooperation” to the tobacco control cell against such campaigns.
“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,” Arora added.
The Delhi government had in February asked Brosnan to explain why he appeared in a commercial for an Indian brand’s paan masala advertisement, and gave him 10 days to respond or face jail time of two years or a fine of Rs 5,000.
The government’s show-cause notice said paan masala contains areca nut, or supari, which is a cancer-causing agent, and Brosnan, as an “actor who is a role model for lakhs of people especially youngsters, should not indulge in promotion of such hazardous products”. The government also asked the company, Pan Bahar, why punitive action should not be taken against its directors and office-bearers.
In 2016, Brosnan said he was “deeply shocked and saddened” about Pan Bahar’s “unauthorised and deceptive use” of his image to endorse paan masala. He claimed that the contract said he was to advertise a “breath freshener/ tooth whitener”.