Akshay Kumar has addressed the speculation surrounding his appearance in a new Vimal advertisement, emphasizing that it does not mark his 'return' to endorsing the tobacco brand. The actor clarified that his involvement in the recent ad is part of a pre-existing legal contract with the brand.
Responding to reports suggesting his 'return' to Vimal, Akshay Kumar took to social media to set the record straight. In a post on X (formerly Twitter), he challenged the accuracy of the news, stating, "‘Returns’ as ambassador? Here’s some fact check for you Bollywood Hungama, if by chance you are interested in things other than fake news. These ads were shot on 13th October, 2021. I have not had anything to do with the brand ever since I publicly announced the discontinuation of the endorsement. They can legally run the already shot ads till the end of next month. Chill and do some real news."
The controversy arose when Akshay Kumar was featured in the latest Vimal ad alongside Shah Rukh Khan and Ajay Devgn. Criticism was particularly directed at Akshay due to the timing, coming months after his public announcement of stepping away from endorsing the tobacco brand. Previously, he featured in a Vimal ad with other actors, drawing criticism as he was simultaneously the face of an anti-smoking public service announcement shown in cinema halls.
When he initially announced the discontinuation of his endorsement, Akshay expressed regret and apologized to his fans, acknowledging the impact of their reactions. In a statement on X, he had said, "I am sorry. I would like to apologize to you, all my fans and well-wishers. Your reaction over the past few days has deeply affected me. While I have not and will not endorse tobacco, I respect the outpouring of your feelings in light of my association with Vimal Elaichi. With all humility, I step back. I have decided to contribute the entire endorsement fee towards a worthy cause. The brand might continue airing the ads till the legal duration of the contract that is binding upon me, but I promise to be extremely mindful in making my future choices. In return, I shall forever continue to ask for your love and wishes."
Akshay Kumar's latest appearance was in the recently released film, "Mission Raniganj," which hit cinemas last week.