Pierce Brosnan, best known for his roles as private detective Remington Steele and as MI6 agent James Bond, has said that he is "deeply shocked and saddened" by the "unauthorized and deceptive use" of his image in the Pan Bahar advertisement which recently ran in India.
In a statement to People Magazine, he said, "As a man who has spent decades championing women's healthcare and environmental protection, I was distressed to learn of Pan Bahar's unauthorized and deceptive use of my image to endorse their range of pan masala products."
"I would never have entered into an agreement to promote a product in India that is dangerous to one's health," he said.
On the morning of October 7, Indians woke up to newspaper and billboard ads of Brosnan endorsing Indian pan masala. While many people were thoroughly amused to see the mustachioed avatar of James Bond holding up a blue tin of Pan Bahar, the image of a global celebrity endorsing a product linked to ill-health, red saliva, spitting and cancer also stirred controversy.
Brosnan said that his contract stated that he was to advertise a "breath freshener/tooth whitener," which wouldn't include an ingredient that turns saliva red, People Magazine reported, and that he had agreed to advertise a single product which was presented as "all-natural containing neither tobacco, supari, nor any other harmful ingredient."
"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," he said.
Brosnan said that the Pan Bahar company had "grossly manipulated" media outlets into believing that he was a brand ambassador for all its products, and that he had demanded removal of his image from all its products. "I shall endeavour to rectify this matter," he said. "In the meantime, please accept my sincerest and heartfelt apologies to all whom I have offended."
Brosnan also said that he has the "greatest love and affection for India and its people."
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