Bollywood star Poonam Pandey has been slammed after revealing her death announcement was all a hoax.
The model, 32, announced she had died of cervical cancer in a statement shared on Instagram on Friday.
The post read: ‘This morning 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.’
It has now been revealed this was all a publicity stunt.
Just hours after the initial post, Pandey shared a video, beginning: ‘I am alive. I didn’t die because of cervical cancer.’
Poonam Pandey’s death has been confirmed as a hoax (Picture: Instagram)
The model confirmed she is alive, and the announcement was a publicity stunt (Picture: Jam Press)
She went on to say that she planned the hoax to raise awareness for the preventable disease and encourage women to get tested and vaccinated.
However, her video and stunt has been widely criticised.
Follower @irakeshdwivedi said: ‘Am happy she is alive but Pls arrest her for this drama and publicity stunt.’
@parthsachanxo added: ‘Next time people won’t take you seriously, you just destroyed your entire credibility.’
@jannatsorathia said: ‘Worst PR stunt, you could have done a better way, than highlighting such a sensitive topic for so many cancer patients. Highly not appreciated.’
Pandey later apologised saying ‘sorry I’ve caused a stir and sorry to those whom I’ve hurt.’
She went on to say her intention was to ‘shock’ people into talking more about cervical cancer.
Pandey has been blasted for the distasteful stunt (Picture: Jam Press)
‘Yes, I faked my demise. Extreme, I know, but suddenly we’re all talking about cervical cancer, aren’t we,’ she said.
‘I’m proud of what my death news has been able to achieve,’ she said.
People blasted her second video too, saying she ‘set a bad example’ with her ‘deceptive stunt’.
@actorrahulkannan wrote: ‘Requesting everyone to unfollow and report her account for spreading fake information about her death. She did everything for publicity and to gain more attention. This would set a bad example for those other innocent woman suffering from the same disease.’
@theskindoctor13 added: ‘Engaging in a deceptive stunt, like faking one’s death, under the guise of “raising awareness” for is not only unethical but also manipulative. Such attention-seeking behaviors not only exploit the emotions of fans (if you have) and loved ones but also reflect a callous disregard for the gravity of the issue at hand. It’s a shame that someone would exploit a serious health concern for personal gain, undermining the credibility of genuine advocacy efforts. If you were serious about this, your approach towards the awareness should have been direct and transparent.’
Pandey apologised for ‘causing a stir’ (Picture: Instagram)
In another of her videos after the stunt, Pandey used a montage of celebrities and experts speaking about cervical cancer.
In response, one of the people featured, known online as Dr Cuterus, wrote: ‘Please don’t associate me with your distasteful campaign. I’ve been creating HPV vaccine awareness long before your ill thought through plan was born. This act was insensitive, and morally reprehensible, and I will not stand to be associated with this.’
Cervical cancer survivor @bhangrabychristine also said: ‘I’m a cervical cancer survivor. It’s sickening to pretend to be dead to make people aware of the HPV vaccine. I got the vaccine as a teenager and still got stage 3 cervical cancer without feeling any symptoms. This campaign was such a disrespect to patients. Cancer isn’t a joke. The vaccine doesn’t work 100%. Absolutely insane.’
You, me & HPV
This week, Metro.co.uk is looking at HPV and its related cancers from a range of perspectives.
By and large HPV isn’t something to worry about – but it is something to be aware of.
HPV is something that eight in 10 of us will encounter at some stage of our lives. It’s spread through skin-to-skin contact, not just penetrative sex. There is even some evidence to suggest it can spread through deep kissing.
It isn’t tested for in a standard sexual health screening, so it’s near impossible to know when or where a person might have contracted it or who they might have passed it onto.
For most people, their bodies will fight the virus off in around one to two years without any lasting effects. For some people however, it can make them more vulnerable to cancers of the cervix, anus, head and neck, penis, vagina and vulva.
Over this week, we’ll be exploring the human issues that come with HPV and its related cancers.
The Indian model and actress made her Bollywood debut as the lead in 2013 movie Nasha, in which she played drama teacher Anita who has an affair with a teenager student.
With credits including Love is Poison, The Journey of Karma and Maili & Co, Pandey was most recently seen in Indian reality show Lock Upp.
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