Pierce Brosnan told India health officials that a brand there “cheated” him by linking the British actor to a product with a reported association with an addictive form of tobacco, the BBC News reported.
In 2016, Brosnan agreed to advertise a so-called breath freshener/tooth whitener for an Indian company called Ashok & Co.
Having taken part in the campaign, he soon discovered Ashok & Co were using his image to promote a different brand: Pan Bahar.
Pan Bahar is linked with pan masala and gutka. These are mild psychotropics which users chew then spit out. They contain a mixture of tobacco, crushed betel nut, lime, and clove among other ingredients. It is very addictive and known to cause cancer.
The other wrinkle in the story is that India bans the advertisement of tobacco. In addition, many Indian states ban pan masala and gutka.
Why is this all coming up again now?
The Indian government in Delhi have recently sought to discover why punitive measures have not been brought against Ashok & Co executives. It is unknown why it has taken them over a year to do so.
As a result, Brosnan had to explain his involvement in the campaign.
Health officials in Delhi, SK Arora, released Brosnan’s response to the press:
“In a written reply to the Delhi State Tobacco Control Cell, the actor stated that he was cheated by the company as the latter did not disclose the hazardous nature of the product and other terms and conditions of the contract of advertisement.
“… Brosnan also said that his agreement with the company was over and he was ready to extend all kinds of support and cooperation to our department against such campaigns.
“He has given an undertaking in writing that he would never assist any company with regard to promotion of such products or other such harmful products in future.”