NBC's streaming service, Peacock, Universal Television, and executive producers have issued an apology after the show, the Saved by the Bell reboot, made a joke surrounding Selena Gomez's 2017 kidney transplant.
"We apologize. It was never our intention to make light of Selena's health. We have been in touch with her team and will be making a donation to her charity, The Selena Gomez Fund for Lupus Research at USC," the statement from Peackock reads, via Variety.
The scene in question features students at Bayside High speculating about who was Gomez's donor.
"I know for a fact that Selena Gomez's kidney donor was Justin Bieber's mom," one character said. "God, I wish that I had my phone so I could prove it."
In another scene, there's a shot of a wall that reads, in spray paint, "Does Selena Gomez even have a kidney?"
Another responds: "Prove what? That you’re an idiot?," the other student responded. "It was Demi Lovato's kidney. They're best friends…like you and I were."
It's unclear why the show even wrote this scene, considering Gomez revealed, following her surgery, that her friend and actress Francia Raísa was her donor. Gomez also revealed that she had the surgery because of her lupus, an autoimmune disease.
Fans were alarmed by the joke and tweeted their thoughts:
Joking about someone’s disease is not funny whatsoever. It’s just so cruel and unjust. Selena doesn’t deserve that & no one else deserves that either.
RESPECT SELENA GOMEZ pic.twitter.com/b0cmZrysVG
— Julian: into the Julian-Verse | BLM (@cooljulian5) November 28, 2020
making fun about someone's disease will never be funny. respect selena gomez.
— 2000s (@PopCulture2000s) November 28, 2020
I’ve had a kidney transplant, and will be needing another one in the near future. It’s no laughing matter, it takes a serious toll on your mental and physical health for both donor and recipient.
To make a joke out of something so traumatic is disgusting. https://t.co/4VvUmy5TWQ
— J o e (@joeoftheworld) November 28, 2020
Raísa also tweeted her response to Peacock's apology: "Appreciate the apology but let’s not forget about the donors that potentially felt offended and dismissed from the spray paint written on the wall," she wrote. She continued: "As a kidney donor I want to show love and let other donors know that you are not alone. You are seen. You are appreciated. You are so brave and your selfless act is very much appreciated and valued."
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