Poonam Pandey’s Cervical Cancer Death Stunt Is Unethical And Insensitive!

The credibility and the intent behind the cancer awareness campaign is in tatters. Contrary to educating the masses, this campaign might even have the opposite impact.

Social Media star Poonam Pandey has been in the news for the wrong reasons. On Friday, the following message was posted on her Instagram account by her team, sending shockwaves.

“This morning is a tough one for us. I am deeply saddened to inform you that we have lost our beloved Poonam to cervical cancer. Every living being that ever came into contact with her was met with pure love and kindness. In this time of grief, we would request privacy while we remember her fondly for all that we shared.”

Celebrities and friends expressed their shock and posted messages about how wonderful a human she was. Netizens tried to find out more about her sudden demise. There was also a section of the internet that expressed doubt. Poonam was seen partying just four days prior. How did she pass away so suddenly when she looked hale and hearty?

Personally, this hit hard. I’ve lost a loved one to cancer, and the very mention of the word is triggering. To be so full of life and to die at such a young age! My heart went out to Poonam and her family.

But she’s alive; this was just an ‘awareness campaign’!

In a shocking turn of events today, Poonam’s profile was updated with new posts. She was revealed to be alive and well ! Poonam shared a video of herself talking about her fake death that was part of a campaign to promote cervical cancer awareness.

“I am alive. I didn’t die of cervical cancer. Unfortunately, I can’t say that about those hundreds and thousands of women who have lost their lives because of cervical cancer.”

She went on to talk about the disease. Sharing the video, Poonam wrote, “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”.

Imagine my shock that this was just a publicity stunt!

I was relieved that she was alive and healthy, and that cancer had not claimed a 32-year-young victim. But I also felt disgusted. Whatever be the intention, the act itself was sickening. It reminded me of the episode in Friends where Ross faked his death and held a memorial to hear what his college mates had to say about him.

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Why would anyone claim to have a dreaded disease and make a mockery out of it? How appalled would a survivor or someone currently struggling with the Big C feel about this hoax?

Poonam is no stranger to controversy. She has posted risqué photos and videos, and has made many controversial statements in the past. What was this attempt for anyway? A few seconds of fame? A moment under the spotlight? If she was aiming for the ‘shock effect’ and grabbing attention, she certainly achieved it. Her profile hits have soared, and she is trending due to netizens expressing disbelief and disgust.

How will the credibility of a campaign done like this survive?

The credibility and the intent behind the cancer awareness campaign is in tatters. This is such a shameful and foolhardy attempt! Shouldn’t marketing be ethical and responsible? Mocking death is not how you promote cancer awareness. Contrary to educating the masses, this campaign might even have the opposite impact.

Over the past few years, the trend to create hype by hook or crook has been overwhelming. Rumors of affairs before a big release, speculation about break-ups and divorces for brand campaigns to create hype; the list is long. Does negative publicity sell? Not always.

This is a crucial issue, not to be treated so lightly

In this age of deepfakes and misinformation that spreads at the speed of light, this stunt only comes out as desperate and destroys credibility that an actual cancer awareness campaign can bring.

The focus needs to be on emphasizing that cervical cancer is preventable, making HPV vaccines affordable and accessible, encouraging women to go for regular pap smears and HPV screening, and removing any stigma associated with the screening. The first step towards this is educating young girls. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her interim budget speech suggested that the Government would educate girls in the age group 9-14 for the prevention of cervical cancer.

Poonam Pandey, please introspect. Actions have consequences. You owe cancer warriors, survivors, and their families a big apology! Be an ambassador by all means, but do it with integrity, and not through cheap gimmicks.

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About the Author

Lalitha Ramanathan

Lalitha is a blogger and a dreamer. Her career is in finance, but writing is her way to unwind! Her little one is the center of her Universe. read more...

54 Posts | 73,801 Views

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