Nguyen Tri Cat Tuong has apologized to the public audience for advertising a “milk product that cures diabetes,” a false claim that makes the public frustrated.
According to actress, she signed a commercial deal with a milk brand earlier this year and said in the product’s advertising video that it could replace diabetes medication.
However, according to the Vietnam Food Safety Authority under the Ministry of Health, milk for diabetics is merely a health-protecting food and cannot replace medicine.
Tuong spoke for the first time about the controversy in HCMC on Sunday.
“I have been panicked over the past few months because of the criticisms I received for over-advertising and exaggerating the milk product’s benefits,” she said.
“Many people said I promoted scams. So, I want to admit my faults and responsibilities, and I hope the public can give me a chance to compensate for my mistake.”
The actress said she had checked the documents related to the product before signing with the brand. However, she admitted that she was too careless when accepting to endorse a product relating to health.
“I was wrong for guaranteeing and over-advertising the product’s quality and benefits with my reputation,” she said.
Tuong added that she contacted the brand and asked them to remove the promotional videos after receiving criticisms from the public and the media. However, the process was not smooth since it was before the expiration date of her six-month deal.
Many retailers of the milk brand had also reposted and edited the videos in which Tuong appeared, putting the issue largely beyond her control.
It was only recently that the actress could speak about the matter since a film she ís in was about to be released at the time the issue was raised and she did not want the whole production crew to be affected.
She said she made her request about removing the promotional videos to the brand again after her contract expired. Yet only around 80% of the videos have been removed.
To solve the matter, Tuong said she hired a management agency and lawyers to act on her behalf. She was also willing to meet every customer who bought the product and suffered from health effects because of it to apologize in person and compensate them.
The actress said she had not accepted any endorsements since.
“I simply thought the commercial deal was a chance for me to make a living and did not expect that it would affect my family members and relatives,” she said. “My parents are old, so they are really worried when they read negative comments about me.”
The Vietnam Food Safety Authority under the Ministry of Health raised the matter about brands violating advertising regulations in February this year.
The government agency also requested punishments for organizations and individuals that advertise falsely or without assessment from health authorities.
It requested social media platforms including Facebook, Google, YouTube strictly follow regulations stated in Vietnam’s Laws on Advertising. It also requested the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to help spread regulations about advertising.
Organizations and individual artists that advertise health-protecting food products as replacements for medicines or exaggerate the benefits and mention unassessed information in commercial videos should be penalized, according to authorities.
Tuong, 46, is a renowned actress in Vietnam. She has starred in many movies and drama series including “Dong Tien Xuong Mau” (Blood Money) and “Co Gai Xau Xi” (The Ugly Girl).
Beside her acting career, she is also active as a singer and a host.