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Schbang Issues Apology Over Poonam Pandey’s Fake Death Stunt

Creative agency clarifies intentions, emphasizing awareness in controversial campaign.

In response to the uproar received after Poonam Pandey’s fake death stunt, Schbang, the agency responsible for the contentious campaign, issued a public apology on social media.

Poonam Pandey’s staged death to draw attention to cervical cancer has stirred significant controversy, prompting the All Indian Cine Workers Association to call for legal action against the model-actor. In response to the uproar, Schbang, the agency responsible for the contentious campaign, issued a public apology on social media.

The official handle of Schbang shared the apology post. It read, “Yes, we were involved in the initiative for Poonam Pandey to spread awareness about Cervical Cancer in collaboration with Hauterfly. To start off, we would like to extend a heartfelt apology – especially towards those who have been triggered as a result of having faced/ having a loved one face the hardships of any kind of Cancer.”

The post emphasized that their controversial move aimed at raising awareness about cervical cancer, citing alarming statistics in India. “Our actions were driven by a singular mission – to elevate awareness about Cervical Cancer. In 2022, India registered 123,907 Cervical Cancer cases and 77,348 deaths. After Breast Cancer, Cervical Cancer is the second-most frequent malignancy affecting middle aged women in India,” the post read further.

The company also revealed that Poonam Pandey’s mother had battled cancer and hence, she knows the impact of this disease. “Many of you may be unaware but Poonam’s own mother has bravely battled Cancer. Having been through the challenges of battling a disease like this at such close personal quarters, she understands the importance of prevention and the criticality of awareness, especially when a vaccine is available. There was no change in people’s curiosity regarding Cervical Cancer when our Honourable Finance Minister mentioned it no less than a few days ago during the Union Budget. This act by Poonam has now resulted in making ‘Cervical Cancer’ and its related terms the most searched topic(s) on Google. This is the first time in the history of this country that the word ‘Cervical Cancer’ has been on 1000+ Headlines,” it read.

“Nevertheless we are deeply apologetic to those who may have been hurt due to this initiative. We understand that our methods may have sparked debate about the approach. While we regret any distress caused, if the move results in spreading much needed awareness and preventing deaths, that would be its real impact. We want to clarify that this is a pro-bono activity and not commercially linked to any client. This is a Cancer for which 93% of cases are preventable according to the USCDC via a vaccine and everything we do is in service of this being prevented. We hope that the start of this conversation serves as a catalyst for raising life saving awareness about not only Cervical Cancer, but all preventable diseases,” concluded the apology statement.

For the unversed, Poonam Pandey’s ‘death’ news was announced in a post shared on her official Instagram handle on Friday, February 2. “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. In this time of grief, we would request for privacy while we remember her fondly for all that we shared,” the post read.

Poonam Pandey’s death news had many celebrities grieving her demise on social media. However, in a subsequent video statement, she revealed that the announcement was a stunt to create awareness about cervical cancer. This explanation received backlash from various celebrities and her fans. Actor Babil Khan, son of late actor Irrfan Khan, said in a strongly worded statement, “I don’t know what the f**k that was about Poonam Pandey’s demise, but it just feels wrong. I’m trying not to care but it is making me feel really angry. Awareness can be spread, faking statements of death should not be something that we rely upon to do so as individuals in a collective society.”

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