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Pierce Brosnan Responds to Controversial Indian Breath Freshener Ad: 'I Am Deeply Shocked and Saddened'

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Pierce Brosnan is “deeply shocked and saddened” about the events following his controversial participation in the endorsement of Pan Bahar breath freshener, which may include ingredients that cause cancer.

Brosnan explained that he has the “greatest love and affection for India and its people,” in an exclusive statement to PEOPLE.

“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,” the statement read. “I would never have entered into an agreement to promote a product in India that is dangerous to one’s health.”

Pan Bahar, known as pan masala in Hindi, is made from a mixture of nuts, seeds, herbs and spices. It’s been associated with bad health and is also blamed for the red-colored spit stains visible in public areas in India.

Brosnan’s contract details that he was to advertise a “breath freshener/tooth whitener,” which wouldn’t include an ingredient that turns saliva red.

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.”

“Having endured, in my own personal life, the loss of my first wife and daughter as well as numerous friends to cancer, I am fully committed to supporting women’s healthcare and research programs that improve human health and alleviate suffering,” the statement continued.

The James Bond actor said he demanded that the company remove his image from all their products, and assured that he had no knowledge that he was endorsing items that would have a negative or painful reaction in India.

He added that Pan Bahar “grossly manipulated” media outlets to falsely present him as a brand ambassador for their entire line of products, something he writes is “in violation of my contract.”

“I shall endeavor to rectify this matter,” the statement concluded. “In the meantime, please accept my sincerest and heartfelt apologies to all whom I have offended.”