An advertorial that Hollywood actor Pierce Brosnan shot for in 2016, and which put him in the eye of the storm even then, is sparking fresh troubles for the James Bond star.
Delhi government officials have asked Brosnan to explain why he was in an ad for a local mouth freshener associated with an addictive form of chewing tobacco, according to BBC.
He has been issued a notice for appearing in a “surrogate advertisement” for an Indian pan masala brand, Pan Bahar.
He could be fined Rs. 5,000 rupees ($78) or go to jail for two years if he doesn’t respond within 10 days, officials said.
The health department, according to Indian Express, said the notice has been issued under the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003, which bans all kinds of direct and indirect advertisements of tobacco products. The Delhi government has argued that areca nut or supari is a cancer-causing agent.
The Irish actor has been asked to clarify his position within the next 10 days.
The specific variety Brosnan was endorsing did not contain tobacco, but some of the company’s products include supari, a kind of nut considered by the World Health Organization to be carcinogenic, according to The Guardian.
The campaign was suspended after it caused an uproar, and Brosnan reacted by saying that he was “deeply shocked and saddened” with the unauthorized use of his image.
People magazine had earlier quoted Brosnan as saying that his contract detailed that he was to advertise a “breath freshener/tooth whitener.”
Brosnan said he agreed to advertise a single product only, and that it was presented as “all-natural containing neither tobacco, supari, nor any other harmful ingredient.”
“As a man who has spent decades championing women’s healthcare and environmental protection, I was distressed to learn of Pan Bahar’s unauthorized and deceptive use of my image to endorse their range of pan masala products,” he said in a statement at the time, according to People. “I would never have entered into an agreement to promote a product in India that is dangerous to one’s health.”