Indian Actress Fakes Death, Triggers Backlash

On Friday, seemingly reliable reports announcing that Bollywood actress and reality TV star Poonam Pandey had died of cervical cancer spread. However, it turned out that she was fine and had faked her own death in what she perceives as a good cause.

After an initial announcement on her Instagram page that she had died, the actress shared a video on Saturday, telling her 1.3 million followers that she was still alive.

“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,” she wrote in the caption.

Apologizing for shocking her fans, she revealed that she took that extreme approach in order to foster a discussion about cervical cancer.

“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 said in the video.

She then urged her followers to work together to “bring #DeathToCervicalCancer.”

After facing some backlash, Pandey made another post, apologizing for the stir the announcement of her death caused.

Her intention, she explained, was to “shock everyone into the conversation that we are not talking enough about.”

“Yes, I faked my demise. Extreme, I know. But suddenly we all are talking about cervical cancer, aren’t we?… I am proud of what my death news has been able to achieve,” she stated in the video.

In yet another video which included clips of discussions about her supposed death and cause, she said that “one celebrity dead has got the whole nation talking about cervical cancer and honestly, that’s all I wanted to do.”

The initial statement on the Indian actress and model’s page regarding her death 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.”
Her management team also gave credibility to the fake news, confirming her death to media outlets, per Sky News.

In addition to the backlash she has faced since her return to life, two formal complaints have been filed, demanding strict action against Pandey for spreading fake news for publicity.