Faced with a huge backlash, actor Akshay Kumar on Thursday announced that he is stepping down as the brand ambassador of a tobacco company with whom he had recently signed a contract.
The actor in a lengthy social media posting in the early hours today apologised for hurting the sentiments of people.
"I am sorry. I would like to apologise 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," Akshay Kumar wrote on Instagram.
Akshay also promised to be extremely mindful in making future choices.
"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," the actor said.
Akshay had become the latest Bollywood celebrity after Shah Rukh Khan and Ajay Devgn to feature in the advertisements for Vimal,which also sells tobacco products. Recent ads showed both Ajay Devgn and Shah Rukh Khan welcoming Akshay Kumar with the 'Vimal salute'.
Akshay's association with the brand did not go down well with his fans. They even shared old videos of him talking about his dislike for alcohol, cigarettes, and other things to remind him of what he had spoken about in the past and in a bid to make him change his decision.