Akshay Kumar. Image Credit: AFP

Faced with backlash, Bollywood 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.

In a post on social media, the actor apologised for hurting people’s sentiments.

“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,” Kumar wrote on Instagram.

Kumar also promised to be careful about 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.

Kumar was the latest Bollywood celebrity after Shah Rukh Khan and Ajay Devgn to feature in advertisements for the brand. Recent ads showed both Devgn and Khan welcoming Kumar with the ‘Vimal salute’.

Kumar’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 vices and other things to remind him of what he had spoken about in the past in a bid to make him change his decision.