‘The White Lotus’ Drops Milos Bikovic After Ukraine Controversy

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Actor Miloš Biković will no longer be part of The White Lotus.

HBO says it “decided to part ways” with the actor and will recast the role in the show’s forthcoming third season, which is set to begin filming in Thailand this month. The change comes after Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs criticized Biković’s casting over the Serbian-born actor’s seeming support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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In a Jan. 24 social media post, the ministry wrote, “HBO, is it all right for you to work with a person who supports genocide & violates international law?” over a video clip of statements Biković has made about Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea. Biković has worked in Russia for the past decade; he received an award from Vladimir Putin in 2018 and became a Russian citizen in 2021.

In a statement of his own, Biković said, “I was honored to be chosen to be a part of White Lotus, a TV series that I hold in high regard and with colleagues whom I deeply respect. However, my participation is not possible due to reasons beyond the realm of art and I will not bow to any narrative that seeks to compromise my integrity. I would like to thank everyone who stood by me. I wish my colleagues great success in creating the next season.”

Biković was part of a cast that includes season one regular Natasha Rothwell, Leslie Bibb, Dom Hetrakul, Jason Isaacs, Parker Posey, Michelle Monaghan, Tayme Thapthimthong, Carrie Coon, Christian Friedel, Morgana O’Reilly, Lek Patravadi, Shalini Peiris, Walton Goggins, Sarah Catherine Hook, Sam Nivola, Patrick Schwarzenegger and Aimee Lou Wood.

Creator, writer and director Mike White executive produces the series with David Bernad and Mark Kamine.

Deadline first reported the news.

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