In a scene from the new series that's been making the rounds on Twitter, two students argue over the identity of Gomez's kidney donor. After losing access to their phones, one character is convinced it's "Justin Bieber's mom," while another says it's actually Demi Lovato. (Both are wrong: Selena previously confirmed friend Francia Raisa donated her kidney.)
— ⁷ (@TayIenaVoodoo) November 28, 2020
“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.” The other student replied, “Prove what? That you’re an idiot. It was Demi Lovato’s kidney. They’re best friends, like you and I were.”
In the next scene, graffiti in the school's hallway reads, "Does Selena Gomez Even Have A Kidney?"
On Saturday, Selenators took to Twitter to express their outrage over the jokes, with the hashtag "Respect Selena Gomez" trending on the app. Meanwhile, a Change.org petition with more than 4,000 signatures called for the show to be canceled.
. @peacockTV You have no professional ethics. You should be ashamed to air a show where a person is mocked for their serious illness. It is not only offensive to Selena Gomez, but to all those who have had to go through a process as difficult as that.
— Selena Gomez Votes. (@SGVoteSquad) November 28, 2020
.@peacockTV we demand an apology to @selenagomez for making fun of Selena’s health issues. 5M - 10M people die from kidney diseases every year. Serious health issues should never be a joke. Stop using Selena’s struggles for profit for your flop show. pic.twitter.com/qkeMRs2rDT
— Selena Gomez News (@musicfacts_sel) November 28, 2020
In response to the backlash, Peacock issued an apology, as well as a donation to Gomez's charity for lupus research. "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 show's executive producers said in a statement via People.
Following a longtime battle with lupus, Selena revealed that she received a kidney transplant from Raisa in 2017. "There aren’t words to describe how I can possibly thank my beautiful friend Francia Raisa," she wrote on Instagram at the time. "She gave me the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney to me. I am incredibly blessed."