Former James Bond star Pierce Brosnan has apologized for appearing in a commercial for Pan Bahar, a brand of chewing mixture associated with health risks, that was widely derided in India.
Brosnan appeared in a series of national Indian advertisements in the beginning of October which seemed to endorse the controversial breath freshener Pan Bahar, also known as pan masala. The adverts were pulled from television after an uproar by the Indian public and government.
The Indian chewing mixture, made up of various spices, seeds and herbs, also contains areca nut— which the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer says is carcinogenic to humans. It has been associated with an increased risk of developing mouth and throat cancers and blamed for red-colored spit stains found across Indian sidewalks, reports the Guardian.
In a statement to People magazine, Brosnan said he was “deeply shocked and saddened” that his image was used to “promote a product in India” that was potentially “dangerous to one’s health.” He said that he had agreed to appear in an advert for a product that he was told was a “breath freshener/tooth whitener….all-natural, containing neither tobacco, supari, nor any other harmful ingredient.”
“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,” Brosnan’s statement read according to People. “I would never have entered into an agreement to promote a product in India that is dangerous to one’s health.”