A BOLLYWOOD star has sparked backlash after she admitted faking her own death in a bid to raise awareness for cervical cancer.
Brazen reality TV star Poonam Pandey, 32, was said to have died on Friday and even herwas announced – only to be revealed the following day that it was a publicity stunt.
A statement was shared with her 1.3 million followers on Instagram that read: “is a tough one for us.
“Deeply saddened to inform you that we have lost our beloved Poonam to cervical cancer.
“Every living form that ever came in contact with her was met with pure love and kindness.”
The -seemingly tragic –of her death was widely reported with fans and co-stars posting tributes on social media.
However, some remained sceptical pointing to footage shared four days earlier showing her during a night-time boat ride in Goa.
The following day Poonam shared a post on Instagram – and while she apologised to her fans for the shock, she defended her decision saying it was “necessary.”
She said: “I feel compelled to share something significant with you all, I am here, alive.
“Cervical cancer didn’t claim me but tragically, it has claimed the lives of thousands of women who stemmed from a lack of knowledge on how to tackle this disease.
“Unlike some other cancers, cervical cancer is entirely preventable.
“The key lies in the HPV vaccine and early detection tests. We have the means to ensure no one loses their life to this disease.
“Let’s empower one another with critical awareness and ensure every woman is informed about theto take.”
Since then a statement from the star’s agency has been released: “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.”
The statement adds that India reported 123,907 cervical cancer cases and 77,348 deaths in 2022.
And continued: “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.”
This was the most ridiculous way to promote something
What was meant to be an awareness campaign was eventually branded a “shameful act for cheap publicity” with the actress being blasted the actress for “attention-seeking behaviour”.
Someone wrote on social media: “Engaging in a deceptive stunt, like faking one’s death, under the guise of ‘raising awareness’… is not only unethical but also manipulative.
“Honestly shame on you for this stunt.time no one will take your real death seriously!” they said.
“This was the most ridiculous way to promote something,” one wrote.
Someone added: “This isn’t an apology and it changes nothing. You and everyone else involved, just bury your head in shame. That’s all that there’s left to do.”
“You made your existence a joke! This is ridiculous!! There could be better ways to spread the awareness,” someone noted.
One commented: “Disgusting move Poonam.”
Pandey began her modelling career in 2010 and has garnered a reputation for outlandish stunts and risque behaviour.
She pledged to strip for the India cricket team if they won the 2011World Cup at home, later posting a video online of her shedding her clothes at Wankhede Stadium where the tournament’s final was held.
Pandey parleyed her fame into several acting credits in Bollywood including the 2013 erotic thriller Nasha, in which she played a teacher who begins a sexual relationship with two high school students.
India accounts for nearly one-quarter of the world’s cervical cancer cases, according to the WorldOrganization, with more than 200 women losing their lives every day to the disease.
campaigners have urged the government to roll out a national HPV vaccination campaign for young girls, which in other countries has drastically cut the incidence of cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer is defined as when the disease starts in the neck of the womb, otherwise known as the cervix.
Generally, it’s caused by persistent infections with the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is contracted through sex.
There are no obvious symptoms during the early stages of cervical cancer -however, vaginal bleeding can often be a tell-tale sign, especially if it occurs after sex, in between periods or after the menopause.
Other warning signs include:
- pain and discomfort during sex
- unusual or unpleasant vaginal discharge
- pain in your lower back or pelvis
The type of treatment depends on the stage and severity of each case, but there are several ways to treat cervical cancer.
Undergoing a hysterectomy (the removal of the womb) is one of them or alternatively, radiotherapy is a common option for those with early stages of the disease.
Fortunately, the condition is almost completely preventable and can be forecast with regular smear tests.