Akshay Kumar issued an apology to his fans, on Thursday, for his association with a pan masala brand and announced that he will step down from his brand ambassador role for the same.
In a note, the Sooryavanshi actor wrote, “I am sorry. I would like to apologise to you, all my fans and well-wishers. Your reaction over the past few days has deeply affected me. While I have not and will not endorse tobacco, I respect the outpouring of your feelings in light of my association with Vimal Elaichi. With all humility, I step back. I have decided to contribute the entire endorsement fee towards a worthy cause. The brand might continue airing the ads till the legal duration of the contract that is binding upon me, but I promise to be extremely mindful in making my future choices. In return, I shall forever continue to ask for your love and wishes.”
Recently, Kumar received flak after his advertisement for the pan masala brand aired. Several social media users criticised his decision to be the brand ambassador of the product and pointed out how he had earlier said he would never do such ads. An old video of the actor talking about not promoting such brands went viral too.
Last year, actor Amitabh Bachchan terminated his advertising contract with Kamla Pasand after the National Organisation for Tobacco Eradication (NOTE) requested him to refrain from endorsing a pan masala brand to help prevent youngsters from getting addicted to tobacco. Bachchan had announced his withdrawal from the advertising campaign on his 79th birthday, saying that he wasn’t aware that it was surrogate advertisement.
Meanwhile, actor Allu Arjun, who starred in the recent hit film Pushpa, reportedly turned down a pan masala brand endorsement as he did not want his fans to watch the ad and start consuming the product.
The pan masala market in India reached a value of Rs 45,585 crore in 2020. Research firm IMARC Group expects the market to touch Rs 69,518 crore by 2026.