In the "Saved by the Bell" reboot, the writers included a quip regarding the identity of the donor of singer-actress Selena Gomez' kidney. The remark was not well-received by Gomez' fans who condemned the show's script mentioning her.
'Saved by the Bell' Under Fire
Fans of Gomez aired out their rage after Peacock's new reboot featured several references to the singer-actress' 2017 kidney transplant.
In a scene from the new reboot, two students at Bayside High are contending about who her transplant donor was. (Gomez has announced it was close friend Francia Raísa).
Streaming service Peacock has issued an apology for jokes suggesting the identity of her kidney. After the attention focused on the scene, the service told American media they had no intentions to pretend that Gomez' health is not important.
"Respect Selena Gomez" was trending on Twitter over the weekend as her supporters rallied around her.
The series referenced the 28-year-old's 2017 kidney transplant and despite her statement on who donated her kidney, one scene from Episode 6 displays characters contending over whether the mother of former boyfriend Justin Bieber or her former best friend Demi Lovato was the said donor.
According to one student, "I know for a fact that Selena Gomez's kidney donor was Justin Bieber's mom." God, I wish that I had my phone so that I could prove it," reported PerthNow.
The other student responded it was the kidney of Demi Lovato, Gomez' actual former best friend.
Another scene displayed graffiti in the background that reads, "Does Selena Gomez even have a kidney?"
Gomez was diagnosed with lupus in 2017.
According to one Twitter user @karlasring, the "Saved By the Bell" jokes brought her dad to tears after their grandmother's demise from lupus and that it is a subject that affects her greatly.
The episode that involves the two instances was entitled "Teen-Line" set in Bayside High.
Although the lead characters Belmont Cameli (Jamie Spano) and Alycia Pascual-Peña (Aisha Garcia) make no mention of Gomez' health amid their heart-to-heart talk, the graffiti wall is displayed in the background.
Another user wrote on Twitter that the creators had no professional ethics and must be ashamed to air a show where a person is mocked for their severe illness." The user added it is offensive to Gomez and other people who had to go through that difficult process.
The scene when the characters were having a conversation mentioning the transplant was after getting their phones taken away by the school principal.
Social media users denounced the series and Peacock for the references that were perceived as disrespectful and offensive.
The streamer, studio, and executive producers issued a statement, "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," reported EW.