HBO has announced that it will be recasting a role in season three of The White Lotus, originally given to Serbian actor, Miloš Biković.
The third season of the Emmy-nominated series was set to begin filming in February, but HBO have now said they will be recasting the role of a wellness guru, set to be portrayed by Biković.
A spokesperson for the network told Business Insider: “We have decided to part ways with Miloš Biković and the role will be recast.”
The statement did not explain why the decision has been made, however it follows recent accusations against the actor by the Ukraine Ministry of Foreign Affairs in late January.
The Ministry wrote on X/Twitter on January 24: “Miloš Biković, Serbian actor who has been supporting Russia since the start of the full-scale invasion, is now set to star in HBO’s The White Lotus Season 3. @HBO, is it all right for you to work with a person who supports genocide & violates international law?”
Miloš Biković, Serbian actor who has been supporting Russia since the start of the full-scale invasion, is now set to star in HBO’s The White Lotus Season 3@HBO, is it all right for you to work with a person who supports genocide & violates international law?
— MFA of Ukraine 🇺🇦 (@MFA_Ukraine) January 24, 2024
While Biković has not made public statements in support of the war, he did post on Instagram about his experiences of conflict and the consequences of war Russia first invaded Ukraine, prompting criticism from some users that he did not explicitly condemn Russia.
In the post he wrote: “The worst of all is that war and bloodshed on either side remind us how far humanity is from the ideals of unity and love. God, spare the lives of all those who are in danger right now…”
Biković has responded to the decision in a statement to Business Insider saying: “Today, a targeted campaign has been unleashed against me, seemingly as an external manoeuver to influence decisions that can create a disturbing precedent shadowing the essence of artistic freedom.”
He continued: “The result of such a narrative is the triumph of absurdity and the defeat of art.”
“I grew up in a war-torn country,” the actor added. “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.”