Akshay Kumar apologised to his fans on Thursday for signing on as a brand ambassador for a tobacco company. Along with Shah Rukh Khan and Ajay Devgn, who are already Vimal ambassadors, Akshay had appeared in an ad for the brand. Fans chastised Akshay for the move, as the actor has previously promoted fitness and healthy living. Ajay Devgn discussed his stance on the issue.
Vimal and Ajay have been friends for a long time. Last year, Shah Rukh joined as a brand ambassador, and the two appeared in an advertisement together. Last week, the two were seen together again, this time teasing Akshay’s arrival. A few days later, a follow-up commercial starring Akshay Kumar aired.
Ajay was asked about the brand endorsement during recent promotions for his upcoming film Runway 34. According to a report on IndianExpress.com, Ajay said, “It’s a personal decision. When you do something, you become aware of the potential for harm. Some things are dangerous, while others are not.”
Ajay continued, “I was doing elaichi and would say it without naming it because I didn’t want to promote it. More than advertisements, I believe that if certain things are so wrong, they should not be sold.”
Earlier on Thursday, around 1 a.m., Akshay apologised to his fans on social media for signing an ad deal with a tobacco company. In his apology, he said, I’d like to apologise to all of my supporters and well-wishers. I’ve been deeply affected by your reaction over the last few days. While I do not endorse tobacco and will not do so in the future, I respect your feelings in light of my association with Vimal Elaichi. I take a step back with all humility. I’ve decided to donate the entire endorsement fee to a worthy cause. The brand may continue to air the ads until the end of the legally binding contract, but I promise to be extremely cautious in my future decisions. In exchange, I will always ask for your love and good wishes.”
Fans applauded the actor’s admission of guilt and public acknowledgement after his announcement. Another comment read, “We youth consider you to be our idol; you don’t need any such ad.” Akshay has promised to donate his ad fee to a “deserving cause.”