Serbian actor Miloš Biković dropped from cast of HBO’s White Lotus over Russia ties

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The producers of the acclaimed hit TV series The White Lotus have dropped actor Miloš Biković from the upcoming season following allegations from Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs accusing him of supporting the Russian invasion.

A HBO spokesman said: “We have decided to part ways with Miloš Biković and the role will be recast.”

In a video released last month, the Ukrainian foreign ministry alleged that the actor is “the Kremlin’s foreign mouthpiece,” accusing that he sought to rationalise the “hostile seizure” of Crimea and eastern Ukraine by Russian forces.

A tweet from the ministry questioned HBO’s association, asking, “Is it all right for you to work with a person who supports genocide and violates international law?”

The Belgrade-born actor has appeared in several Russian films, including productions filmed in Crimea following its annexation by Moscow in 2014, and has regularly expressed his admiration for the country’s culture.

In 2018, at a ceremony in the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin honoured Biković with the Pushkin Medal, a prestigious cultural award in Russia, recognising his contributions to promoting the country’s culture.

In response to the controversy, Biković posted a statement on Instagram, emphasising his upbringing in a war-torn country. 

“At the age of 11, I endured days and nights in shelters while my homeland and my hometown were bombed. I could never wish such a devastation on anyone,” the statement reads.

“Today, a targeted campaign has been unleashed against me, seemingly as an external manoeuvre to influence decisions that can create a disturbing precedent, shadowing the essence of artistic freedom,” it adds.

The third season of the Emmy-winning series, The White Lotus, is scheduled to commence filming in Thailand later this month. The new cast includes Parker Posey, Jason Isaacs, Leslie Bibb, and Michelle Monaghan.

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