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Miloš Biković wouldn't condemn Russian invasion of Ukraine; dropped from 'White Lotus' S3

Serbian actor and producer Milos Bikovic arrives at the closing ceremony of the 43rd Moscow International Film Festival on April 29, 2021. He has been dropped from the third season of HBO dramedy "The White Lotus." File Photo by Maxim Shipenkov/EPA-EFE
Serbian actor and producer Milos Bikovic arrives at the closing ceremony of the 43rd Moscow International Film Festival on April 29, 2021. He has been dropped from the third season of HBO dramedy "The White Lotus." File Photo by Maxim Shipenkov/EPA-EFE

Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Actor Milos Bikovic, a Serbian national who has Russian citizenship, has confirmed he will not appear as planned in White Lotus Season 3, which is set in a Thailand resort.

Bikovic was set to star alongside 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 for the next chapter of filmmaker Mike White's upscale vacation anthology dramedy.

But HBO, the network behind the show, is recasting the role he was supposed to play after receiving criticism from Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs because Biković has not publicly condemned Russian's 2022 invasion of Ukraine, even though to do so could have landed him in prison in Russia.

"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," Bikovic said in a statement.

"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."

Mike White accepts the Outstanding Directing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie award for "The White Lotus" onstage during the 74th annual Primetime Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles in 2022. One of the roles for Season 3 of the show is currently being recast after actor Miloš Biković left the production. File Photo by Mike Goulding/UPI