HBO cuts ties with pro-Russian ‘White Lotus’ actor Milos Bikovic, role will be recast

HBO has cut ties with pro-Russian actor Milos Bikovic after he was initially hired to co-star in Season 3 of its hit series “The White Lotus.”

“We have decided to part ways with Miloš Biković and the role will be recast,” an HBO spokesperson said in a terse announcement.

Bikovic, 36, a Serbian actor, was awarded Russian citizenship in 2021 and has starred in several Russian films, including “Sunstroke” (2014).

Soon after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Bikovic shared a poll showing that trust in Russian President Vladimir Putin was higher than that for Ukraine leader Volodymyr Zelensky.

As The Post previously reported, Ukrainian officials recently slammed HBO for casting Bikovic in the popular series.

The post on X, formerly Twitter, from Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs slamming HBO for hiring Milos Bikovic for Season 3 of “The White Lotus.” MFA_Ukraine/X

“Milos Bikovic, Serbian actor who has been supporting Russia since the start of full-scale invasion, is now set to star in HBO’s ‘The White Lotus’ Season 3,” read a post on X, formerly Twitter, from Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“@HBO, is it all right for you to work with a person who supports genocide & violates international law?”

The post included a video of Bikovic receiving a medal of honor from Putin in 2018 for his contribution to Russian arts and culture.

Serbian actor Milos Bikovic in Belgrade in October 2021. He fired back at HBO for axing him from “The White Lotus.” Getty Images

“If this is the dark side of comedy, than HBO just did it really well,” the video said. “Dear HBO, do you really support genocide?”

Bikovic fired back at HBO in a statement released Friday after the news broke about his firing from “The White Lotus” — citing a “targeted campaign” to get him axed from the show.

“I grew up 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,” he said. “And could never wish such devastation on anyone.”

A poster for Season 2 of “The White Lotus.” Photograph by Courtesy of HBO

“There are more and more conflicts in the entire world. Each one is different,” he said. “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 a maneuver to influence decisions that can create a disturbing precedent shadowing the essence of artistic freedom,” Bikovic said. “The result of such a narrative is the triumph of absurdity and the defeat of art.”

Bikovic said he was “honored to be chosen” to co-star in Season 3 of “The White Lotus,” which is a TV series that he holds “in high regard and with colleagues whom” he deeply respects.

Milos Bikovic with Johnny Depp at a “Puffins” TV miniseries promotional event in Belgrade, Serbia in October 2021. BETAPHOTO/SIPA/Shutterstock

“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,” he added.

Bikovic concluded his statement by thanking everyone who stood by him.

“I wish my colleagues great success in creating the next season,” he said in the statement. “Regardless of everything, I strongly believe that art can heal. I believe it can help humanity unite,” he said. “My beliefs and my dedication to art will remain unchanged.”

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