Bollywood actress Poonam Pandey hit with $12M lawsuit for death hoax

By Linh Le   February 19, 2024 | 04:45 pm PT
Indian actress Poonam Pandey, 32, has become the center of controversy for falsely claiming her death due to cervical cancer, leading to a lawsuit exceeding US$12 million against her.
Indian actress Poonam Pandey. Photo from Pandeys Instagram

Indian actress Poonam Pandey. Photo from Pandey's Instagram

As reported by the New York Post, the lawsuit, filed by Indian actor and reality TV star Faizan Ansari, targets both Pandey and her spouse Sam Bombay.

The couple was accused by the actor of concocting a "false conspiracy of death" and exploiting severe health concerns for personal advantage, thus undermining public faith and tarnishing the Bollywood industry’s reputation. Ansari thus calls for their detention and a court appearance to respond to defamation allegations.

The claim of Pandey’s demise from cervical cancer was initially broadcasted on her Instagram account on Feb. 2 and later confirmed by her representatives to the press.

Nonetheless, this announcement was retracted the following day when Pandey uploaded a video on the same platform, clarifying she was alive and well. She articulated that her objective was to draw attention to cervical cancer’s fatal risks and the importance of prevention through measures like the HPV vaccine and consistent screening, guiding her followers to a website dedicated to disease information and prevention tactics.

This act provoked widespread online backlash, with many criticizing Pandey’s approach as insensitive and deceptive. The Hindustan Times reported that comments on the actress’ Instagram post ranged from accusations of erasing all mentions of cervical cancer to admonishments against staging such drama again.

Pandey’s controversial act coincided with the Indian government’s launch of a cervical cancer vaccination initiative, underscoring the disease’s critical impact in India. It is reported that cervical cancer remains the leading cancer among Indian women, causing around 74,000 deaths annually, which constitutes nearly a third of the worldwide total.

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