The new Saved by the Bell revival came under fire this week for a joke about singer Selena Gomez's 2017 kidney transplant. Her fans called out the show on social media, leading to Peacock issuing an apology on Saturday. The new Saved by the Bell series is a sequel to the original and Saved by the Bell: The College Years, with many of the original characters returning alongside new students.
In the show's sixth episode, two Bayside High students are debating the identity of Gomez's kidney donor. "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," one student said in the scene. "Prove what?" the other responded. "That you're an idiot? It was Demi Lovato's kidney. They're best friends like you and I were." In another scene, there is graffiti on a wall that reads, "Does Selena Gomez even have a kidney?"
After criticism on social media, Peacock, NBCUniversal, and the show's executive producers apologized in a statement to Variety. "We apologize," the producers said. "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 “saved by the bell reboot” has an extremely disgusting scene where they were mocking the superstar selena gomez’s health, by writing this on the wall. i don’t know what was the point of it, all i know that it needs to be removed asap, thank you. @UniversalTV @peacockTV pic.twitter.com/LYRkdPPljV— ‘ (@littleselss) November 28, 2020
Although the characters speculated the identity of Gomez's donor, Gomez publicly revealed in 2017 that her friend, actress Francia Rasia, donated her kidney. Gomez needed a kidney transplant due to her lupus diagnosis, which Gomez has publicly discussed since 2015. In September, Gomez shared a photo of her scar on Instagram and has continued to raise awareness of the autoimmune disease. This year, TIME included the "Rare" singer on its list of most influential people for 2020.prevnext
why is the Saved By the Bell reboot ... using Selena Gomez’s health problems as a joke? pic.twitter.com/ncVzr2ALlZ— alex (@alex_abads) November 28, 2020
All ten episodes of Saved by the Bell Season 1 were released on Peacock on Wednesday. The series was developed by Tracey Wigfield and follows students from Bayside High, some from overprivileged families and others from working-class families. In the new series, Mark-Paul Gosselaar's Zach Morris serves as the Governor of California. Other original cast members appearing in the show are Elizabeth Berkeley Lauren, Mario Lopez, Tiffani Thiessen, Lark Voorhies and Patrick Thomas O'Brien.prevnext
Saved by the Bell, that's disgusting. Selena almost lost her life, jokes about her kidney transplant is NOT FUNNY. Respect Selena Gomez. pic.twitter.com/c8AZbsU1m0— Selena Charts (@selenachartsbr) November 28, 2020
“does selena gomez even have a kidney” this is disgusting and i can’t believe that the saved by the bell crew just wrote that there https://t.co/tW7ypOnyCS— ً (@quitrare) November 28, 2020
I just really want to know in what world did the writers of the new saved by the bell think it was a good idea to write “does Selena Gomez even have a kidney” on a wall and then proceed to joke about who donated a kidney to her. Like that is despicable and disgusting.— brandon (@brando_swift) November 28, 2020
RESPECT SELENA GOMEZ so unprofessional what the TV show "Saved by the bell" did by posting an episode "Does Selena Gomez even have a kidney?" This isnt only a lack of respect towards Sel, but towards all people who suffer from this disease. 2021 and there is still hatred for Sel? pic.twitter.com/ZWbtMo5ZSi— 𝗞𝗶𝗸𝗶 🕊️ 𝐹𝑜𝑙𝑘𝑙𝑜𝑟𝑒 (@kikiswift131) November 28, 2020