On Friday, HBO announced that they are officially removing Serbian actor Miloš Biković from the cast of “The White Lotus” Season 3.
According to Variety, the decision came after Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused Biković of supporting Russia amid the nation’s ongoing conflict with Ukraine, leading to widespread public outcry.
“We have decided to part ways with Miloš Biković and the role will be recast,” HBO said in a statement, per Variety.
In response, Biković issued a statement expressing his concern over the situation’s impact on artistic freedom.
“I grew up in a war-torn country,” he wrote. “At the age of 11 I endured days and nights in shelters while my homeland and my hometown were bombed. And could never wish such devastation on anyone. There are more and more active conflicts in the entire world. Each one is different. Each one is heartbreaking. I wish all of them to stop and principles of love to prevail.”
“Today, a targeted campaign has been unleashed against me, seemingly as an external maneuver to influence decisions that can create a disturbing precedent shadowing the essence of artistic freedom,” the statement read. “The result of such a narrative is the triumph of absurdity and the defeat of art.”
The dispute began on Jan. 24, after Ukraine’s foreign affairs office posted a statement on X, highlighting Biković’s support for Russia since the onset of the conflict and questioning HBO’s association with him.
The post included a video of Biković receiving a medal from Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2018, and labeled the actor as the “Kremlin’s foreign mouthpiece.” The office then named HBO directly, saying, “Is it all right for you to work with a person who supports genocide & violates international law?”
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