Poonam Pandey’s cervical cancer awareness campaign leaves the internet flabbergasted

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Smrithi Mohan
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Poonam Pandey

The internet calls out Poonam Pandey's post, mentioning how it's a poor attempt that hurts sentiments and demeans the actual work some put in to create awareness about cervical cancer.

The entire plot of ‘Don’t believe everything you see on the Internet’ seems to just get real every time a celebrity pulls a terrible stunt in the name of spreading awareness. Poonam Pandey’s latest ‘not dead still very much alive’ hoax left the digital space completely flabbergasted.

A few days ago, the internet was mourning her loss after her team shared a post on her feed saying that she lost her battle to cervical cancer. This lead to a ripple effect with people discussing her death and rushing to the comments section to pay their respects. 

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The day after, Poonam, however, posted a video stating ‘I am here, alive’. She explained how this was to spread awareness about cervical cancer and to get people to talk and discuss the same. The mourning soon turned into a debate with people expressing their rage over the manner in which she chose to do this. The audience called her out on being insensitive towards the families who are affected by the illness. Seeing the backlash from the audience, Poonam shared another post apologizing to everyone affected by the same. 

Wanting to spread awareness is surely a noble act, but this entire episode has only left the audience appalled. They've taken to the comments section to highlight how taking advantage of virality over being sensitive was considered as the only way to spread awareness for something as severe as cancer. “Engaging in a deceptive stunt, like faking one's death, under the guise of "raising awareness" is not only unethical but also manipulative,” wrote one of the users. Another user, who has lost a close one to cancer, called the stunt 'something that made a mockery of their death.'

As the comments flooded with the audience demanding for accountability from everyone involved in the stunt, one user mentioned how this incident spread awareness when influencers and doctors as well started talking about it  exclusively. "While the campaign is controversial, immoral, dirty and extreme, it triggered extreme awareness. And if this could save few lives - I guess this is the most rebel act ever," they wrote.

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Schbang, the agency involved in this initiative for Poonam Pandey to spread awareness about cervical cancer in collaboration with Hauterfly, put out a statement on their Instagram addressing the same.

In a time when people do not shy away from canceling an individual or a media publication, pulling such a stunt has only added fuel to the fire. Not to forget how instead of bringing the illness to light, it undermines the credibility of genuine advocacy efforts made by many others. Educating masses on illnesses that will have an impact on their lives is important. But this makes us wonder - at what cost? After all, being on a public platform that can impact a large audience comes with responsibility especially when you're a big deal! 

What do you think of this controversy? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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