Hollywood action man STEVEN SEAGAL has been bumped from the bill of a blues festival in Estonia following an outcry over his recent comments in support of Russian President VLADIMIR PUTIN.
The Under Siege star, who is also a keen musician, had been due to perform at the Augustibluus event in Haapsalu next month (Aug14), but his place on the bill sparked a major backlash.
Seagal has openly voiced his support for Putin, who he branded "one of the greatest world leaders alive today," and defended his invasion of the Ukraine's Crimea territory in March (14), calling the military action "very reasonable".
The actor's controversial comments infuriated many in Estonia, which borders Russia, and local rock singer Tonis Magi even led calls for a boycott of the festival over Seagal's inclusion in the line-up.
Now the event's organizers have confirmed the star is no longer on the bill.
Augustibluus festival director Indrek Ditman says in a statement, "We hoped the Estonian public would first and foremost see Steven Seagal as an actor and a musician. It turns out what they saw was rather a politician and a henchman. To many in Estonia, it came as a major surprise that the action movie hero is a blues musician. Likewise, the organizers and numerous others were unpleasantly surprised by his political views and public statements."
Putin is under increasing international pressure to act over widespread fears Russian-backed rebels in Ukraine shot down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 last week (ends20Jul14), killing all 298 passengers and crew.