Indian model Poonam Pandey, known for her earlier cricket-related fame, faced backlash after faking her own death as part of a publicity stunt to raise awareness about cervical cancer. Initially announcing her demise on Instagram, the news was met with condolences from followers and media. However, skeptics noted recent footage of her in good health.
Pandey later admitted to the deception, defending it as a means to spotlight cervical cancer and encourage preventive measures.
She then said in a video posted on Saturday that she had not died and apologised to her fans for shocking them.
“Yes, I faked my demise. Extreme, I know. But suddenly we all are talking about cervical cancer, aren’t we?” Pandey said. “I am proud of what my death news has been able to achieve.”
“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.”
She then urged her followers to “bring #DeathToCervicalCancer”.
In a later post defending her actions, she said: “Feel free to express your frustration – I understand. But this is not just lip service, instead I’m committing my entire body to the service of cervical cancer.
“Once you’ve portrayed your sentiments, I invite you to visit www.poonampandeyisalive.com, my gift to you, where we can come together to combat cervical cancer.”
The incident stirred a debate on the appropriateness of such stunts in raising awareness for critical health issues.