Model Poonam Pandey has received criticism after she and her team announced false news of her death to raise awareness about cervical cancer.
Numerous individuals have called on the Mumbai Police to enforce stringent measures against Poonam for disseminating misinformation. The All Indian Cine Workers Association (AICWA) also called for an FIR to be filed against her.
Suresh Shyamlal Gupta, AICWA President was quoted by ANI as saying, "Poonam has played with the emotions of people in India. After learning about the news of her demise, so many people prayed for her and her family...She hurt the sentiments of people by involving in a cheap publicity stunt. It was not the right way to create awareness about cancer. I request police to register an FIR against her."
Earlier in the day, Bipasha Basu publicly criticized Poonam Pandey. "Beyond pathetic behaviour. The PR people behind this should be ashamed too... not just this person," she wrote in the comment section of actor Arti Singh's post.
"This Poonam Pandey cervical cancer stunt is not just distasteful, tone deaf and insensitive... it also bases itself on zero research on the subject. Not to take away from the lack of awareness around it but a mere Google search will tell you that there are 8 stages to cervical cancer and an average of 5-10 year gestation period for it to reach its advanced stage," wrote Mini Mathur on her Instagram.
She added, "Shame on you Poonam Pandey. And shame on the team who thought up this sickening farce of a 'campaign'. Social media and influencers have dumbed down the discourse around absolutely everything. Anyone can be anything by mere projection and posturing. No body of work or qualification needed. This is a new low."
Maharashtra MLC Satyajeet Tambe also called on the Mumbai Police to pursue legal measures against Poonam Pandey.
In a statement, he said, "The news of Poonam Pandey's death ultimately proved to be a publicity stunt. The phenomenon raises many basic questions. The first of them was the way the news was garbed as awareness. The news of an influencer/model dying of cervical cancer cannot be a means to spread awareness about the disease. The entire episode takes away the serious nature of Cervical Cancer and diverts the attention entirely to the influencer. The actor has pulled a prank on the cancer survivors rather than raising awareness. Another problem is how the drama was reported and picked up by news agencies without verifying facts. Media was being used to further their agenda through unfair means."
On February 2, Poonam's manager announced that the actress had succumbed to cervical cancer. A statement was also posted on Poonam's official Instagram which 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."
On Saturday, Poonam posted a video on social media revealing that she is alive. She admitted to faking her death in order to bring attention to cervical cancer.
"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 the steps to take. Visit the link in the bio to delve deeper into what can be done. Together, let's strive to put an end to the devastating impact of the disease and bring #DeathToCervicalCancer," she said.
Many were deceived by the false news of Poonam's death, but others doubted it because of her contentious public image and reputation.