Poonam Pandey death hoax: “Cheap publicity stunt” draws furious reactions from celebs

The Poonam Pandey death hoax has left the Internet fuming — “cheap publicity stunt”, “ridiculous”, “disgraceful”, and “a new low” are only some of the enraged words that came on Saturday, on the heels of shocked reactions to news of the actor-model’s “death” on Friday.

Poonam Pandey
Model-actor Poonam Pandey has been completely roasted online for the death hoax created by her own team. Photo courtesy: Instagram/poonampandeyreal

Pandey’s team had on Friday dropped the bombshell news of her death from cervical cancer. But it was a hoax, a stunt pulled off by the actor-model, who appeared in a video on Saturday and declared that she was “alive”.

The intention behind the stunt, according to Pandey, was to spread awareness about cervical cancer. Her Instagram post said: “While I do understand how you would have perceived this [to be] in bad taste, I also implore you to consider the greater cause.”

However, the stunt did not go down well with social media users, including celebrities like Pooja Bhatt, Sara Khan, Aly Goni, and Rahul Vaidya, who furiously slammed Pandey for faking her death and demeaning an important cause.

Bhatt, who was among the celebs to offer their condolences on Pandey’s alleged death, said that she had deleted her earlier post. “I never delete tweets but did so in the case where I expressed my shock at news of Poonam Pandey’s demise due to cervical cancer. Why? Turns out the news was engineered by a digital/PR team. Absolute disgrace & disservice to those battling the same – her included,” she posted on X.

TV actor Goni wrote, “F***ing cheap publicity stunt it was nothing else.. u guys think it’s funny ? U and ur PR team should be boycotted I swear.. bloody losers and to all the media portals we people here trust u that’s y we believed it.. shame on u all (sic).”

Singer and former Bigg Boss contestant Vaidya said that he never believed in the news that Pandey had died from cervical cancer. “And I was right!! Now that poonam is alive I can surely say RIP PR/ marketing. New low of creating a sensational/viral campaign .. welcome to KALYUG,” he posted.

Actress Nikki Tamboli said, “Absolute cheapness! It’s disheartening to witness the depths some individuals will sink to for a momentary spotlight. Faking one’s death, especially in the context of a serious illness like cancer, is not just tasteless but downright disrespectful. It trivialises the very real struggles that millions face worldwide and breaks the trust of those who genuinely care. Let’s not reward such attention-seeking behavior with our attention.”

Actor Kushal Tandon called for Pandey and her PR team’s arrest. “How stupid and how lame it is to fake your death. It’s sad, and alarming, I think it will be right to put the person and there entire pr team behind the bars to set an example for the future, for no nonsense, fake news mumbaipolice # poonam Pandey and an alarm to media houses to always check the reality of a situation first hand and then post on the ur news forums, authenticity check plz (sic),” he wrote in an Instagram story.

Pandey also received criticism from actors Sherlyn Chopra and Rakhi Sawant.

“Height of shamelessness & insensitivity!!!” Chopra said on X.

Sawant posted a video on Instagram and criticised Pandey. “Are you mad? Who does this kind of publicity? You played with the fans, media and with my heart. And then you say you’re alive. Who plays such kind of dirty pranks?” she said.

The hashtag ‘PoonamPandey’ attracted over 60,000 posts on X, with the majority being critical of the actor.

“Worst publicity stunt ever,” said one user.

“This was the most ridiculous way to promote something,” posted another user.

One person called Pandey “the biggest fraud”.

“Spread awareness, not rumors #PoonamPandey This wasn’t awareness. It was clearly a misinformation. I never posted condolences cause it was weird. It wasn’t a cardiac arrest that people just die of. Cancer deteriorates ones health significantly, gradually (sic),” another person said.

One post read, “What a shameful girl she is. How can you stoop so low for a cheap publicity stunts. We will never trust you again as they say trust is the most expensive thing in the world, cheap people can’t afford it as Poonam Pandey.#PoonamPandey #PoonamPandeyDeath. (sic)

In the sea of criticism, a few voices came out in her support. “#PoonamPandey is alive. She wanted to spread awareness about Cervical Cancer. Because of her effort yesterday millions talked about cervical cancer. Hats off to her,” one user said. Another user posted, “Seriously people are angry & shocked that #PoonamPandey lied to them, but they don’t react when government do the same (sic).”