Miloš Biković, 36, may have celebrated his casting in season 3 of HBO hit The White Lotus — but Ukraine certainly was not, and now it’s been reported by Deadline that he’s exited the series. According to a January 25, 2024 report by Deadline, Ukraine lashed out at HBO for hiring Milo, an allegedly pro-Putin Serbian actor who once accepted a medal from the controversial politician.
“Milos Bikovic, 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,” a post on Twitter (X) said on January 25, from Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ account. Per the New York Post, the tweet continued. “@HBO, is it all right for you to work with a person who supports genocide & violates international law?”
Deadline reported that Miloš was “likely” to be playing a “Russian speaking wellness guru” at the White Lotus Hotel, the setting of the series, which will be in Thailand for the upcoming third season. Filming is reportedly set to begin in February.
After news of his exit from the series, Miloš released a statement that expressed gratitude for being considered for the role. “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,”he said in the 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.”
The production is now recasting the role that Miloš was set to play and according to Daily Mail, Julian Kostov has been chosen.
Amid the controversy, here are five things about the actor.
He’s Starred in Russian Films
Miloš has appeared in Russian films over the years, including the highly regarded Sunstroke (2014), which was directed by Oscar winner Nikita Mikhalkov. More Russian movies followed, including Dukhless 2 in 2015, and Ice and Beyond the Edge, both in 2018. He also starred in the popular 2019 Russian comedy Servant and its 2021 sequel, The Serf.
Miloš Enjoyed Success on TV in Serbia
The young actor made his debut on television in Serbia in a series called The Dollars Are Coming, and furthered his career with a role on the comedy White Ship from 2006-2011. He also proved he’s versatile, jumping from comedy to drama in 2008 with a supporting role in the series The Storks Will Return.
Additionally, he’s appeared in live theater in a handful of productions and is a member of the European Film Academy.
He’s Received a Medal From Putin
According to the New York Post, the tweet from Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs included a video that showed the actor in 2018 publicly receiving a medal from Putin. Per Variety, the award was for his high-profile “contribution to Russian arts and culture.” The video also accused the actor of supporting the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“If this is the dark side of comedy, then HBO just did it really well,” the video says. “Dear HBO, do you really support genocide?”
Miloš Has Survived Traumatic Events
Per his Wikipedia page, Miloš was just 11 years old when he was forced to hide away in a shelter with his family during the NATO bombardment of Belgrade, which was his birthplace. His parents divorced during his younger years, and he continued to be raised by his mother in Serbia, while his father moved to Germany.
He Speaks Three Languages
Miloš holds citizenship in both Serbia and Russia, and is fluent in English, Russian, and Serbian languages. His education includes graduating from the XIV Gymnasium of Belgrade, and he’s currently pursuing a doctorate degree at the University of Arts in Belgrade.